'Whatever help they can get': 3 Gravenhurst families displaced by devastating fire

A month before Christmas, three families in Gravenhurst are now homeless after a devastating fire on Hughson Street.

Firefighters were alerted to a structure fire at 325 Hughson St. at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22.

When our reporter arrived at the scene, neighbours said they heard what sounded like a large explosion and then saw the flames envelop the home.

Firefighters from all three stations battled the blaze and were on the scene until about 5 a.m. the following morning, said Fire Chief Jared Cayley.

No injuries were reported and everyone, including pets in aquariums that were retrieved by the firefighters, got out safely.

Cayley said the damages are estimated at about $500,000.

While the department has not yet determined the cause of the blaze, it is not considered suspicious. However, neighbours are saying that lightning struck the house, which started the fire.

The building had four apartments, three of which were currently rented out. All occupants were accounted for and were assisted by Muskoka Victim Services, said Cayley.

A GoFundMe page called “Help Neighbours Recover from Fire” has been created by Gravenhurst resident Tegan Elshaw. There was $300 raised at press time.

“As there are multiple tenants in the house, there are multiple people and families currently without a place to live, and probably won’t be able to return to their home due to damage from fire and water,” says the page. “They will take whatever help they can get, especially as one of the families is expecting a baby in a few months.”

This is the third significant structure fire in Gravenhurst in a matter of months. A fire on First Street South displaced five families and resulted in the death of 50-year-old Erica Curtis-Nickason.

Just down the road, on Nov. 10, a fire ripped through a home at the corner of First Street South and Phillip Street. While it was not deemed suspicious, it left neighbours on edge.

Now, a third fire leaves more people displaced at the onset of winter during a housing crisis.


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