Little River fire evacuees see outpouring of donations and support

·2 min read

The nearly 100 evacuees from an apartment fire on Little River Road are on the receiving end of an outpouring of donation offers online — so much that volunteers don't know where or how to collect and distribute the items.

Donations include furniture to replace what was lost in the fire, but volunteers don't have the space to store the donated items.

"It's mind blowing, actually," said Vicki Sinclair, one of the evacuees who is helping co-ordinate support. "We're going to eventually need the beds, the furniture, stuff like that — we don't have houses to put them in at the time right now."

Sinclair, who is now living at her parents' house, says many of her neighbours don't know how long it'll be before they can move back in to the apartment complex. She says she's heard that the building owner and the City of Windsor are working together to secure long-term accommodations for residents who don't haven't been able to make arrangements on their own.

Justin Galps, a news anchor with Windsor Car Spotter news, has also been assisting the evacuees. He says the top priority is seeing if local businesses will offer up space where volunteers can store donations.

"If anybody has that little extra space that we could put a few boxes for our drop off location, just so someone could come pick it up," he said. "That way we could start dealing with these donations and start handing it out and start facilitating it."

@ONFireMarshal/Twitter
@ONFireMarshal/Twitter

Global Management, the company which runs the building, told CBC News it has been working on assisting residents.

"It is with relief that there were no injury to tenants or pets. We are unable to comment on specific details pending further investigation. We have been in constant contact with displaced tenants and making every effort to accommodate their needs," the company said in a statement.

Residents are being allowed into the building Wednesday to collect essential items, and there will be time next week for them to get the rest of their things, according to Global Management.

Investigators determined that an electrical wire failure on a third floor balcony was the cause of the fire. Damage is estimated at $1.5 million.

Because volunteers do not know where to put many of the large donations right now, Sinclair said gift cards are appreciated.

She says the emotions are raw for many displaced residents, as they try to figure out what to do next.

"It's the unknown right now. We don't know what's happening, we all want to come back, we all want our little community, we want our building back."