WARMINGTON: Massive fire ravages construction site near retirement home

STREETSVILLE — It sounded like a bomb went off.

Actually, more than one bomb but many.

“I heard four massive explosions,” said Greg McIntosh, who was on the phone, when he realized a construction project across the street was fully engulfed, just after 7 p.m. Friday.

Then came the first boom.

Greg McIntosh witnessed – and recorded video – of a fire at a construction project in the Streetsville area of Mississauga, Ont. on Saturday March 3, 2018. The fire was across from a retirement residence. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

“It felt like it would have felt during the bombing of London during the First World War,” joked McIntosh. “It was wild. The whole area was lit up.”

McIntosh said you could feel the heat from across the street and the embers were landing on his lawn.

“It was a full-on inferno and I am not exaggerating,” he said, producing his own phone video that captured the drama.

It was a menacing fire but those blasts — which some say happened as many as 10 times — had the whole town on edge.

Aftermath of a fire at a construction project in the Streetsville area of Mississauga, Ont. on Saturday March 3, 2018. The fire was across from a retirement residence. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

In McIntosh’s footage, which photographer Ernest Dorozsuk captured in his video, during one of the explosions, you can hear people screaming as they ducked for cover.

“It was scary, no question,” said McIntosh. “I hid behind my house because I thought stuff was going to start flying.”

Of course, the biggest concern was not the four-storey soon-to-be completed seniors’ residence at the corner of Tannery St. and Joymar Dr. in the famous village in the heart of Mississauga. They were evacuated, but were cleared to return home around 10:30 p.m.





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The larger concern were the group of elderly residents who live only a few feet away in a new eight-floor building, which opened two years ago next to train tracks and only one block away.

“We were all worried about them,” said McIntosh. “The firefighters were working hard to keep the flames and smoke isolated to avoid more trouble.”

There weren’t fatalities of injuries when the dust settled. But was it ever a possibility.

On Saturday, only the outer beams of the development remained.

“I am so proud of the Mississauga fire fighters,” said former Mayor Hazel McCallion, who lives just a few streets away. “They really are the best and they proved it again here. The police and paramedics were amazing, too.”

McCallion loves that building and was worried about the seniors inside — many her friends.

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“The staff did a great job there too,” she said. “They moved everybody to the far end of the complex and were ready to evacuate them if necessary.”

The flames and explosions were kind of flashbacks for McCallion, who has been at the centre of managing two of Mississauga’s biggest blazes. The most famous was, of course, the 1979 train derailment that led to the evacuation of the city.

The explosions in this one hit a nerve, “but other than that, I can’t say they compare. But still every major fire is upsetting for people.”

The other historical blaze was in 1998 at Trinity United Church, which served as McCallion’s church.

“It was also under construction,” said McCallion. “It was almost finished and I can tell you this hurt us so much. We were all so upset about it. We loved our church.”

Aftermath of a fire at a construction project in the Streetsville area of Mississauga, Ont. on Saturday March 3, 2018. The fire was across from a retirement residence. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun)

In that case, a teen was charged for arson.

“It was devastating,” she recalled. “I watched it burn down and it was very upsetting to a lot of us. “We rebuilt it, but the pain of it lingers.”

The cause of Friday’s fire remains under investigation, but Peel Regional Police say the Ontario fire marshal has been asked to investigate. Many witnesses said they believed the flames broke out on the fourth floor, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Whatever the cause, of the massive three-alarm fire, it rocked Streetsville, whose residents are relieved they dodged a bullet, considering the fierceness of the blaze.

“With all the seniors so close to this fire this certainly could have been a lot worse,” said McCallion.

McIntosh agreed, saying the building can be replaced, but the seniors can’t be.

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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