Fire at Orillia retirement residence update

    Heavy equipment called in to assist with structural collapses

    TORONTO, Jan. 20 /CNW/ -


    In a news conference this afternoon, Ontario Fire Marshal Pat Burke told
reporters that the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) will be conducting a
thorough, comprehensive investigation into all aspects of yesterday's fire at
Muskoka Heights Retirement residence, located at 327 Old Muskoka Road in
    The fire claimed the lives of two individuals and eight remain in
hospital. The facility was home to 23 residents.
    There are concerns with structural collapse and heavy equipment has been
brought in. Additional staff from the OFM, including professional engineers,
have been requested to assist with the investigation. Currently, a thick layer
of ice covers all surfaces at the site.
    One of the priorities of the OFM is to prevent a fire like this from ever
occurring again. To fulfil this priority, the OFM continues to work with a
number of community partners including the City of Orillia Fire Department,
Ontario Provincial Police, the EMS service and the regional coroner Dirk
    Firefighters from the Cities of Orillia and Barrie, Severn, Oro-Medonte,
Ramara, Tiny and Tay Townships and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation Fire
Rescue were all involved in this emergency situation. The OFM is in the
preliminary phase of its investigation.


    "Again, I want to express my condolences and sympathies to the families
and friends of those whose lives were claimed and of those who were injured in
this fire," said Burke. "Analysis of the fire safety requirements, as well as
interviews with individuals who were involved, are now under way."

For further information:

For further information: Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal,
(416) 325-3138; Bev Gilbert, Office of the Fire Marshal, (416) 325-3178

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