First responders in the City of Penetanguishene are breathing a sigh of relief after everyone left safely after two walls of a downtown building collapsed early Thursday.
But as the dust settles, much is still unknown about what caused the collapse and where the 14 people living in the building will now live.
Two walls are left in pieces on the ground and a bed hangs from the ledge, a stark reminder that things could have ended much worse for the residents inside.
“When we had a partial collapse, the building was occupied and, like I said, those 14 people in the whole building had a partial collapse where the people on the second floor ended up on Main Street and had 14 people in the property itself with “There are no injuries, he’s using the claim that it was a miracle, that’s really what’s right,” said Penetanguishene Fire Chief Richard Renaud, at PKBNEWS.
“That’s something you never see with partial collapse. That’s all it was. There were no fires, no electrical problems and no gas leaks. In reality, only two sides of the building collapsed.
On Thursday, around 3 a.m., the Penetanguishene Fire Department received a call of a building collapse, with people possibly trapped, at 78 Main Street in Penetanguishene.
First responders from several communities, including Midland, Barrie and Simcoe County, responded to the call for help.
Penetanguishene fire crews found that walls on both sides of the historic building had collapsed, but all residents escaped unhurt.
Renaud says 14 people have since been displaced and are currently staying with family, friends or at a local hotel.
Penetanguishene Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Lees says the building is believed to be more than 100 years old.
“From the municipality’s perspective, this is certainly a devastating blow to Main Street. But again, I’m very grateful that everyone was considered,” says Lees.
Penetanguishene Mayor Douglas Rawson said the city does not have an emergency shelter program, but is working with Simcoe County to find housing options for those affected.
The area around the collapse remained blocked off Friday as crews worked to determine next steps for the partially collapsed structure.
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