London

Floods displace London tenants at downtown apartment buildings

The Red Cross was kept busy after flooding at two downtown apartment buildings in London, Ont. over the weekend.

The Red Cross says it's assisting 20 people after two floods over the weekend

Residents and businesses at 34 Covent Market Place were forced to evacuate after a burst sprinkler pipe on the third floor. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

The Red Cross was kept busy after flooding at two downtown apartment buildings in London, Ont. over the weekend.

A four-storey walk-up at 34 Covent Market Place, which is sandwiched between Fanshawe College's downtown campus and Hotel Metro, experienced a burst fire sprinkler line on the top floor Friday afternoon, which spread down through the lower units and businesses.

According to an update posted on the door of the building, the London Fire Department deemed it necessary to evacuate all of the units.

"London Hydro has determined the building is unsafe due to catastrophic water damage and as a result has turned hydro off to the entire building," read the notice.

A letter to tenants of 34 Covent Market Place was taped to the door after flooding forced residents to leave. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

There's no word on the severity of the damage or when tenants will be able to return to their apartments, but it could take months.

The local chapter of the Red Cross says it's assisted 13 people from the building, providing shelter, food and clothing.

"We called in a number of volunteers, three people besides myself went out," said David Schiller, a volunteer with the Red Cross. "The city usually has a city bus there so the beneficiaries can sit in from the cold and we were able to meet with them and find accommodations."

Schiller says that the non-profit works with the City of London to find shelter at local hotels until victims can arrange for alternate accommodations or for their insurance to take over.

Restaurant and clothing store forced to shut down

Latino Flavours and clothing store Bela Boutique were also affected by the flooding and forced to close.

Bela Booteek at 34 Covent Market Place was forced to close after flooding in the building. (Travis Dolynny/CBC)

"Out of nowhere, there was water coming from all over the ceilings," said Johnny Vasquez, owner of Latino Flavours.

"Everybody started panicking, we had customers all over. We got the customers out and the next thing we knew the building was on lock down."

Vaquez says it will be at least two months before they will be allowed to rebuild the restaurant.

"We can't do anything. All of our stuff was a write-off, everything inside, everything's gone," said Vasquez. "They're taking down the whole restaurant as well."

He said they made it through the construction on Dundas Street and had big plans for the Juno awards, but now they are left wondering what they're going to do.

A second flood took place at 285 Queens Ave, just east of Wellington Street on Sunday. The Red Cross says it's assisted seven people from that location.

Deputy Fire Chief Jack Burt says those occupants are set to return to their homes Monday and Tuesday.

Burt said the building shares a corridor with 275 Queens Ave and 440 Wellington Street, which were both impacted by the flooding.

"We had a significant amount of floods throughout the city this weekend based on burst water pipes," he said, noting up to 50 water main breaks were reported on Sunday.