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Apartment fire displaces residents

Posted on Monday April 19, 2021

An apartment fire displaced residents at Park Towers (148 Concession Street E.) on Sunday night.

Tillsonburg Fire and Rescue Services arrived on scene shortly after 6:00 p.m. on April 18, to find a third floor apartment fully involved. Firefighters from Norfolk County Station 6 (Courtland) assisted with the incident.

“Everyone in the building was able to get out,” says Vanessa Devolin, acting deputy fire chief.

Residents of the 47 units in the building assembled on the Annandale baseball diamonds prior to being transported by T:GO to the Legion hall on Durham Street.

“The Town of Tillsonburg is very grateful to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 153 for graciously hosting residents affected by the fire,” says Mayor Stephen Molnar. “Typically, in an evacuation situation, we would open the Tillsonburg Community Centre but in this case, Legion president Dianne Hodges just happened to be monitoring her scanner and quickly offered the facility.”

Molnar also expressed Council’s thanks to fire communications staff, emergency services personnel, Human Services of Oxford County, and a number of community volunteers who assisted in the response.

It is unclear when residents—most of whom are seniors—will be able to return to their apartments. Eighteen people are currently staying in area motels, with the remaining residents sheltering with family and friends.

“The fire was limited to one apartment, however due to suppression efforts, the building received damage to the third floor, and significant water accumulation on the first and second floors,” says Devolin. “The entire building was heavily affected by smoke and heat. A further structural inspection will be done on Monday.”

Devolin confirmed that two firefighters sustained minor injuries during the suppression effort.

Victim Assistance Services of Oxford County and Oxford County Human Services will continue to support the displaced residents.

“This incident should remind all of us that emergencies can happen at any time,” says Devolin. “Fires do happen. It’s important to have a working smoke alarm, practice your escape route and ensure everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of an emergency.”

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