THUNDER BAY – A fire at the Odd Fellows Hall is under investigation. The May Street South structure has been closed by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit over health and safety issues.
The fire Sunday in the empty building caused minimal damage, and no one was hurt.
The building was closed in November. The Health Unit is seeking to talk with the building owner.
Reaching out to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit a spokesperson shares the following statement:
“The landlord still owns the building and is responsible for providing a mechanism so residents can retrieve their belongings. However, the building is also very dangerous at the moment. There is a large number of used, uncapped, and uncontained hypodermic needles scattered about the building. A part of the ceiling has collapsed due to broken water pipes and has spread what looks like friable asbestos on the floor and down a set of stairs. This should not be disturbed because inhaling asbestos fibers can lead to lung cancer. These broken pipes have led to some extremely slippery patches of ice. There is also a large amount of garbage in the building and evidence of rat activity. The building has no heat and its fire alarm system continues to be non-functional, so it is also a potential fire hazard.
“The ownership of the building is publicly available through Ontario’s land and corporate registries. As of December 4, 2019, it was owned by a numbered company “2596814 ONTARIO CORP.” registered to CHANDRAKALA PONNUTHURAI of Markham, Ontario. There is no local building manager that we are aware of. We were in contact with representatives of the owner around the time of the building closure, but they have since cut off communication and we have not been able to speak with them for the last several weeks. Thunder Bay District Health Unit continues to gather evidence and pursue compliance with our public health Orders. If residents are not able to contact their landlord to retrieve their belongings, or for any other reason, they are advised to seek legal counsel and/or take the matter to the Landlord & Tenant Tribunal, which adjudicates and resolves disputes between residential landlords and tenants.”
NetNewsLedger has reached out to the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board and the Ontario Government for comment.