Search for missing toddler over, officials say no body recovered
Nearly 48 hours after a fire gutted a farm in Woolwich Township, firefighters continue to comb through the rubble looking for 2 year-old Steven Martin and his golden retriever.
The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office began its search on Saturday. More than two dozen volunteer firefighters have assisted in the search. It’s believed the toddler was in the barn when the fire began on Friday evening. Fire Marshal Greg Olson says two thirds of the 10,000 square foot barn has been searched.
“We’re looking obviously for fabric. The dog was wearing a collar and tags so we’re looking for the buckle and tags as well.”
The Wolwich fire department says crews were called to a dairy farm on Lobsinger Line just after seven o'clock on Friday.
When they arrived, the barn was engulfed and the child, who lives on the property, was nowhere to be found.
Olson believes Steven may have tried to escape the burning barn under a stairwell but the search for his body is being hampered by the two horses and 12 cows that were also in the barn at the time of the fire.
“We’re still finding livestock so we’re removing the livestock at the same time so that’s an issue.”
Brenda Macintosh McClinchey lives nearby and continues to hope for the best.
“We were praying for them this morning (Sunday) at church. You just don’t know how you would reach to such devastation.”
The fire, and its presumed tragic result, has many members of the Mennonite community lending the Martin family a hand on the farm. Irene Wolfe is one of them. “There were ladies working in the garden, shelling peas and stuff for her. That’s the type of people that they are.”
Many in the tight-knit community are trying to make sense of the fire through religion.
“If Steven did perish in the fire then he’s not there anymore, he’s in heaven. He won’t be suffering anymore”, said Wolfe.