New details in devastating Kitchener townhouse fire
Investigators are sharing new details about Wednesday’s townhouse fire in Kitchener.
Three units on Green Valley Drive have extensive damage, and the residents of six townhouse units have been displaced.
Officials say it could be weeks – or months – before some of them can return home.
“Last night I was trying to sleep [but] I couldn’t sleep,” Maria Suing, one of the affected residents, said on Thursday. “My mind was so awake.”
She’s trying to figure out what’s next for her family after flames tore through theirhome.
Suing said someone banged on her door to alert her to the fire.
“I was scared. So what I did was just grab my bag, my purse with my IDs. I just wore my rubber shoes and that’s it. I wasn’t able to grab anything else.”
She’s still coming to terms with what happened Wednesday.
“This is a tragedy which I thought I’d watch on the news and read in the papers,” added Suing. “Never to happen to us.”
None of the residents were injured but some pets still haven’t been found.
“The only thing I’m thankful for is nobody was harmed,” Suing said.
The Ontario Fire Marshall’s office was at the Green Valley Drive townhouse on Thursday and called the damage “extensive.”
“It’s fairly substantial,” said OFM investigator Clive Hubbard. “It’s probably going to be upwards of a $1,000,000 claim.”
Three townhouse units are heavily damaged, while the other three have smoke damage.
Investigators are still trying to determine where and how the fire started.
However, they don’t believe it was suspicious.
In a media release sent out Wednesday night, Waterloo regional police stated the fire started on a deck and spread rapidly to the unit next door.
When residents will be allowed to return to their homes is still unclear, but it’s likely to be gradual process.
“It’s my hope that two or three of them will be able to return at some point, either later this week, or later on in the month,” said Hubbard. “I would think that the three units that are most affected by this fire will be out for a substantial period of time.”
Suing and her husband are bracing for what could be a long wait.
“They’re saying probably eight months or six months, so there’s nothing really definite,” she said.
The couple is currently staying at Conestoga College’s Residence & Conference Centre.
“That’s where we’re living, and we will explore other places to live because it’s going to be expensive,” Suing said.
Security staff remain at the scene to keep local residents away from the damaged homes.
The OFM is expected to wrap up their investigation by Thursday night.