Some residents return home weeks after deadly apartment fire in Collingwood


Some residents at the Shannon Towers in Collingwood are starting to return home after being forced to flee from their apartments after a fire last month.

No cause has been determined in the fatal fire that occurred on September 20, where both 61-year-old Mary McOuat and 89-year-old Ruth Hall died in the fire.

Ann Wells was dropped off at her apartment on Saturday by a taxi. She says her day is a difficult one as she returns after losing a friend in the fire.

"It's a little upsetting because my very good friend passed away in the fire," Wells says, referring to Ruth Hall. "The only thing I'm not ready for is going back in and missing my friend."

You can still see the burn marks on the building and the wooden boards covering broken windows at the apartments.

Douglas Stevenson has lived in the building for 22 years and has stayed in a hotel for the past two weeks.

He says he was thrilled when he was told he could return to his home.

"I couldn't wait to grab my stuff and get out of there," says Steveson.

"I'm on the first floor, and the burned apartment is on the second floor, and the apartment beside it is also (as) I understand heavily smoke damaged, and the one below it is heavily water damaged."

Twenty-nine of the 37 units are now livable. But it's not known when the rest of the tenants will return home.

Rosetta Whipps also moved back on Saturday. She's lived in the apartment for two years.

"I am very happy that some people can get back in their homes and sleep in their own residents and carry on with their lives."

According to Realstar Management, eight units are still not available to tenants. Four of the eight sustained heavy damage and could take some time to repair, and it could be a month or two before the other four are ready.