Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance says this weekend’s fire at the Patricia Plaza is a tragic loss of seniors’ housing units for the community.  

The fire broke out around 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Firefighters evacuated the 37-unit building of all 28 residents shortly after they arrived on scene, and at this point, it remains empty.

The Sioux Lookout Fire Department says the cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but no foul play is suspected at this time.

The Kenora District Services Board, which owns and operates the Plaza, was able to find short-term housing for all 28 displaced residents at this time, and thankfully, no injuries were reported.

Mayor Doug Lawrance says from what he’s been told, some residents may be able to move back into their apartment units by the end of the week – depending on the damage.

“It’s my understanding that one-third [of the building] is going to have to be totally redone, perhaps two-thirds. So, I think 11 units will be uninhabitable. One wing was taken out of action.”

Mayor Lawrance has repeatedly lobbied provincial and federal governments about the need for more housing in the Sioux Lookout area, as well as long-term care beds. He’s previously said the lack of homes in the area is making growing the local economy more difficult as no one’s able to relocate easily.

“There’s not a lot of housing, period,” adds Lawrance. “It’s tragic for anyone to have to lose their home and have to go through all of this, but even more so in a community that’s so short of housing across all sectors.”

Mayor Lawrance notes Calvary Baptist Church, Sioux Towers, local businesses and many community members have been helping residents in any way they can.

“The community came together. The Kenora District Services Board and community organizations sprang into action, providing meals and arranging houses for everyone. Really thankful for our fire department, police, KDSB and the community,” he adds.

All residents are reminded to always have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their homes at all times, and if you suspect a fire, call 911 immediately.