Two days after a fire broke out at a heritage building and left 32 people homeless, the burning smell still lingers in the air despite gusty winds.
A small crowd is still loitering in front of the cordoned off site at 27 Bold Street — some are neighbours who have gathered to chat about the storied building — said to be more than 100 years old. Others are residents who have yet to be told when they can return to their homes.
The fire was put out at around 6 p.m. Friday afternoon, but firefighters were called to the site again Saturday morning after smouldering spots were found.
The province’s Office of the Fire Marshal is now investigating.
Thursday’s fire started just after 8 p.m. and burned through the night. It destroyed 17 units, leaving 32 people homeless.
There were no injuries reported. One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion and has since returned to duty, according to the city's fire department.
Earlier reports say the fire started at the boiler room, but lead investigator Mike Ross said his team from the Office of the Fire Marshal still has to trace the course of the fire before determining the cause.
“We have to consider everything,” he told CBC Hamilton. “We haven’t looked at all the evidence yet.”
Tenants offered hotel stay
Dave Christopher, spokesperson for the Hamilton Fire Department, said there is no timeline yet as to when the residents can return to their homes.
“I can’t see it happening any time soon,” he said.
“You can imagine they are pretty traumatized. They just lost their homes,” he added.
Meanwhile, the building’s owner, Ottawa-based CLV Group, has offered hotel accommodation to tenants. Others are staying with families.
“[We are] making sure everybody is settled so we can work out all the details,” said Dave Nevins, vice-president of CLV Group. “This is the first step.”
The building manager has also been on site since Friday morning to talk to residents and neighbours, Nevins added.
The basement of the building is protected by a sprinkler system, according to Nevins. The upper levels don’t have sprinklers, but fire alarms are in place.