Two fires in Dryden and Sioux Lookout have displaced nearly 30 seniors in the region.
In Sioux Lookout, a fire broke out at the Patricia Plaza around 8 a.m. Saturday morning.
Firefighters evacuated the 37-unit building of all 28 residents shortly after they arrived on scene, and at this point, they haven’t been able to return home.
In Dryden, firefighters responded to 10 Victoria Street around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
When crews arrived, heavy smoke was pouring out of a single unit, and everyone was evacuated as a precaution – but seniors were allowed back into their homes about two hours later.
Both buildings are operated by the Kenora District Services Board.
Chief Administrative Officer for the KDSB, Henry Wall, says staff are ‘all hands on deck’ as they continue to respond to both situations.
“There was a fire in one of the units and it was quickly contained,” said Wall, on Victoria Street’s single-unit fire.
“The unit will need some work. We have one senior that is being accommodated elsewhere until the unit is cleaned out and fixed up. Very fortunate that it was quickly contained.”
But unfortunately, it’s a different situation in Sioux Lookout. Wall says of the 37 units within the Plaza – 11 of them are destroyed and all 28 residents living within the facility have been re-homed.
“To have two fires in a week…it has a toll on staff. The displacement of 28 seniors is significant. It’s an incredible amount of work,” Wall adds.
Wall notes it’s too early to say when the wing of the Plaza will be rebuilt as they’re currently dealing with insurance providers, but the KDSB’s priority is to bring residents back into the remaining units as soon as possible.
The Sioux Lookout Fire Department says the cause of the Plaza’s blaze is still under investigation, but no foul play is suspected at this time.
The Dryden Fire Service also continues to investigate Victoria Crescent’s fire.
Wall adds community partners have been helping to collect donations for Patricia Plaza residents, and more information will be provided to the public soon.
All residents are reminded to always have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes at all times, and if you suspect a fire, call 911 immediately.