THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Fire Rescue spent the night battling a very stubborn fire at the Oddfellows Hall building on May Street South.
Platoon Chief John Kaplanis reports, “At approximately 9:00 pm last night, Thunder Bay Fire Rescue responded to a reported structural fire at the Odd Fellows Hall located on South May Street. Upon arrival, TBFR crews encountered heavy smoke and fire conditions visible on the 3rd floor of the building. Fire crews established a defensive mode of operations to protect nearby exposure buildings. The structure had been vacant of occupants for several months with power and utilities cut off from the building.”
Smoke Caused Evacuation of Shelter House
While fire fighting operations were initiated, the heavy smoke banking down from the burning building was impacting the nearby Shelter House facility. Police were dispatched to the scene to assist with the evacuation of the Shelter House. Fire officials worked in cooperation with Police and Shelter House staff to have City of Thunder Bay transit buses brought to the scene to provide an area of safety for Shelter House occupants. Later, these evacuees were shuttled by bus to a local hotel where they were provided with refuge and refreshments.
Kaplanis says, “Firefighting efforts were hampered by high winds and the building itself held many void spaces that created a stubborn fire condition that was difficult to access. Fire crews remained on scene throughout the night battling the fire and are still on the scene”.
The cause of the fire is unknown and TBFR investigators have been notified and will attend the scene today to try to determine the cause of the blaze. A total of 5 pumper rescues and two aerial ladder trucks in addition to a Command vehicle and Mobile Command Post were present at the scene throughout the night.