Fire breaks out at new retirement home

Fire breaks out at new retirement home

Shortly before 11 a.m. on July 10, Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire & Emergency Services received a call reporting a structure fire at 552 Holland St. W. – the new Holland Gardens retirement home, currently under construction.

Workers reported seeing flames and black smoke pouring from a third-floor window. The smoke rapidly spread, forcing workers to flee from the building.
Firefighters responded and with mutual aid from New Tecumseth and extinguished the fire, as South Simcoe Police directed traffic and closed down the eastbound lanes of Holland Street West, at 10 Sideroad.
Holland Gardens is planned to be a six-storey, 138 continuum care retirement residence, operated by Verve Senior Living.
Deputy Fire Chief Olaf Lamerz blamed the fire on metal cutting that was ongoing on the fifth floor. 
"They had procedures in place," including a watchperson on the floor below to watch for sparks, he said. 
Apparently a spark fell through a hole to the third floor, where it ignited some construction debris, he added. 
"It got past him and went through to the floor below," causing an estimated $10,000 in damage to several shower units and the ceiling, Lamerz said, noting full damage is still being evaluated. 
Lamerz credited the first-responding fire crew with keeping the damage to a minimum.
"We had four on-duty staff at the fire hall," which means they could take the truck out immediately, he said. 
With the building still under construction, they then dragged a heavy fire hose up the stairs to the third floor, where they extinguished the blaze.