Residents evacuated after fire breaks out in downtown apartment building
Bradford West Gwillimbury, ON (March 22, 2021) – Personnel from Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire & Emergency Services (BWGFES) were dispatched just before 2:00 p.m. today to the scene of a fire at the 84-unit apartment complex at 114 Holland Street West. It was reported that there was fire and smoke coming out of the fifth floor of the eight-storey building, with some residents of upper floors trapped on their balconies.
An aerial unit was used to rescue residents from their balconies and 11 people were taken to hospital, with four listed in critical condition. Also dispatched were South Simcoe Police Services and Simcoe County Emergency Medical Services, and mutual aid was called in from 12 other fire departments, with King Paramedic Services also called upon to assist. A total of 48 firefighters were involved and continue to work through the evening to reunite residents with their pets, and will stay on scene throughout the night to ensure there are no flare-ups.
Fire Chief Jim Kay reported that the entire building had been evacuated by 7:30 p.m. and all residents needing a place to go had been transported to a nearby community centre to be assisted by Town of BWG staff, County of Simcoe social services and the Red Cross. These staff are operating the evacuation centre, registering everyone to ensure they are accounted for, and assisting residents with immediate needs such as food, shelter and medication.
“The building suffered structural damage on the fifth and sixth floors, so a structural engineer will need to conduct an inspection before the building can be occupied again. Residents definitely will not be returning to the building this evening,” said Chief Kay. “The Ontario Fire Marshalls have been called upon to assist with determining the origin, cause and circumstances of this fire.”
Town of BWG Mayor Rob Keffer said: “I want to thank all of our emergency services personnel for taking quick action to contain the fire and prevent any loss of life. Town staff moved quickly to establish an evacuation centre to accommodate any displaced residents, and we have hot food available through the generous actions of several of our local restaurant owners.”
Residents of the community have quickly responded with offers of support. The Town will share information on the best way to assist displaced residents as more information is known.