VIDEO: Health Unit Evacuates Westcourt Place

AM800-NEWS-WESTCOURT-BUILDING-FIRE-NOVEMBER-2019

Windsor's Medical Officer of Health is now calling for the complete evacuation of the more than 200 residents who live at Westcourt Place after a fire early Tuesday morning.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed says, due to lack of power, heat and water, the health unit would like the entire building empty for the night.

According to the health unit, Enwin crews are working on restoring power, but it's unlikely it'll be restored before Wednesday morning.

Firefighters are going door-to-door evacuating residents who have not left already.

The health unit says the first option for residents is to find temporary accommodations with family or friends — if that's not possible, the City and Red Cross are setting up a reception centre with cots and other supplies at the WFCU Centre.

Residents in need of accommodations are being asked to come to 400 City Hall Square West as soon as possible — they will then be transported by bus to the WFCU Centre for the night.

Fire crews were called to the building at Goyeau and Chatham Street East just before 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Three residents and two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital, but their conditions remain unknown.

The fire started in a vehicle in the second level parking garage and then spread. It was officially declared out around 11:30am.

Deputy Fire Chief Andrea DeJong admits it was a challenging fire because of the confined space of a basement parking garage.

"The fire started off as a small fire, as they all do, and because of the concrete and the construction of the building, location of the fire has spread to other vehicles," says DeJong.

DeJong says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"We don't know if it was the car that caught on fire or something caught the car on fire, we are unsure of that," she says. 

Because it is a basement garage with a structure surrounded by concrete, Deputy Chief DeJong says it was very hot and a very difficult fire to fight.

"We will have to bring a structural engineer in because of the heat from multiple cars in a very tight distance," she says. "We have to get a structural engineer in to take a look at the concrete itself and see what kind of damage has been done to it and the safety of that."

This resident of the 13th floor tells AM800 News, residents knew something was off.

"The fire alarm thing started going off and the speaker turned on which usually gives us an announcement and it didn't say anything and then it just shut off," he says.

Thick heavy black smoke was seen coming from the ground floor the building.

The building houses the provincial offences court, apartment units and offices.   

The courts in the building have been shut down for the day and a reception area was set up at 400 City Hall Square.