The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) provided emotional and practical assistance to those affected by a three alarm fire in a multi-unit condo building in Barrhaven (a suburb south of Ottawa) on Thursday morning.
Ottawa Fire Services says the fire spread to 16 units, eight of which sustained extensive damage and about 40 people had to leave their homes.
The Salvation Army canteen truck staffed with volunteers from The Ottawa Retired Firefighters Association provided food and beverages to displaced residents and first responders.
“Our Emergency Disaster Services program offers support when we are called upon by the city with immediate on scene assistance to offer a meal and vouchers for clothing and furniture as well as emotional and spiritual support,” said Marc Provost, Executive Director at the Ottawa Booth Centre. “We are very appreciative of the wonderful partnership we have with the city and first responders in times of emergency.”
The Salvation Army Victim Services volunteers provided practical support to 6 families which included furniture vouchers and grocery store gift cards.
Salvation Army Officer Major James Mercer from the Barrhaven Community Church was also on hand to offer emotional and spiritual support to those affected by the fire.
“When I arrived, our EDS volunteers were already offering hamburgers and hydration to those affected by the fire,” said Major Mercer. “I immediately started to speak with some of the residents and listened to their stories. I gave them my card and let them know The Salvation Army is in Barrhaven. I introduced myself as the pastor and I prayed with some and offered my support.”
Many of the residents from the fire lost everything and were forced from their homes without any of their belongings.
“I spoke to some of the residents who have lost their home and offered comfort. As I sat speaking to a woman on the grass she suddenly got very excited as a firefighter came out of a building holding her purse,” said Major Mercer, “I celebrated with her and others for the efforts of first responders who helped retrieve some important items for the residents.”
“There was wonderful support from volunteers, partners and first responders who were quick to care for those affected by this fire,” said Lynn Wigmore, spokesperson for Emergency Disaster Services, “We are so honoured to be a part of this team assisting those in need.”