Ontario Construction News staff writer
Demolition started Monday on a historic building that partially collapsed last week in downtown Penetanguishene, near Midland.
Firefighters arrived at the scene at about 3 a.m. on Sept. 7 to find two walls of a century-old building at 78 Main St. had collapsed.
“While this incident is impactful to tenants and our community, we’re extremely thankful that there were no serious injuries,” Mayor Doug Rawson said in a statement. “I’m amazed, but not surprised, by the generosity of our town as we rally around the individuals and businesses impacted by this incident. Our town staff have our full confidence and support, and we thank all our area partners for stepping up and helping Penetanguishene.”
In the statement, Rawson said the town is taking “extensive actions” in response to the building collapse in the town’s historic downtown core.
“Given the age of the building, demolition will follow all regulatory protocols related to the removal of possible environmentally sensitive substances. The Ministry of Labour, and other partners, is supporting the town through this process.
“This is another reason why the town is asking residents to stay clear of the area.”
Structural engineers continue to inspect other nearby buildings and will evaluate any possible work that may be required due to impacts of this collapse.
About a dozen individuals were displaced as a result of the incident. The County of Simcoe, Red Cross, Empower Simcoe and the Salvation Armyare working to support and assist those in need. Temporary shelter was provided along with food, clothes and other supplies and wellness checks are ongoing “to ensure the needs of the individuals displaced are met.
“While we believe that in some cases, risk is minimal, with safety as the number one priority, the town may require that additional buildings temporarily remain unoccupied until further safety checks can be made and more is known about the cause of this collapse,” the Mayor stated. “The town and area partners will work to find alternative solutions for further temporary impacts.
More information about the timeline and next steps will be shared this week, officials say.