Kingston fire forces seniors to hotels for Christmas
Royal Canadian Legion Villa staff getting residents to churches for food, music
Seniors driven out of their homes by last week’s Kingston apartment fire say they’re trying to make the best of their bad situation.
Fifty-six people living at the Royal Canadian Legion Villa at 671 Princess Street were forced to evacuate on Dec. 17 when a massive fire tore through a building under construction at 663 Princess Street.
Nearly 30 of them are now homeless and could be unable to return for months.
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As staff members are finally allowed back in to survey the damage, residents said they’re pondering what to do without most or all of their possessions.
“I’m disappointed,” said Patricia Baker, who was living at the Villa.
“We walked out with what we had on our backs.”
'If we're all together, we're family'
Many of the fire, smoke and water-damaged apartments at the Villa will have to be gutted, staff said.
There’s also major damage to the building’s roof and basement from the nearby blaze, where temperatures reached 1,000 C.
Felix Patterson said he has no family to stay with, so he’s joining many other residents in a hotel across the street.
“I never expected this was going to be the type of Christmas we’d be getting,” he said.
Area churches are opening their doors to many of the displaced residents for music and food during the Christmas season.
“If we’re all together, we’re family,” Baker said.
“We’re going to make the best of what we have. That's all we can do.”