Michelle Victoria was at home in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 16 when a fire broke out in her Brockville apartment at the corner of Perth and Brock Streets.
“I heard smoke alarms going off on the first floor and saw smoke coming up the back of the building when I looked out of the fireplace door,” says Michelle (who will only be referred to by her first and middle names in this article for privacy purposes).
She then hurried out of the building, taking only her cat and her purse with her.
She and two other residents of the building escaped, but sadly one person perished in the blaze. Michelle also adds that “other tenants’ pets weren’t so lucky” as her cat.
“I did know the person that passed away and have only good things to say about them, but otherwise I’d rather not comment out of respect for their family,” Michelle says. “I know this comes as a horrible shock to them.”
She notes that “community support has been overwhelming.”
Her sister wrote a Facebook post over the weekend appealing for assistance with clothes and diabetic supplies.
“The help from other ladies in the community was immediate,” Michelle says. “Clothes and shoes and toiletries and personal items were brought to my sister or me that same day.”
She adds that she’s doing her best to share the donations with the other survivors as well, who are staying at the same hotel.
For those looking to lend assistance, other items needed include warm clothing, socks and medicine cabinet supplies such as Advil and lotion.
“I know in the future some people will need bedding and things like that when they find a place to go,” she says.
Michelle says the empathy from those who have helped has been so appreciated.
“Without it, I worry that one or two people might not make it through the winter.”
The area of the fire is expected to be closed until at least Tuesday to allow the Office of the Fire Marshal to investigate.
Police warned in a press release that “not following the direction of the police caution tape and crossing the line could result in being arrested for [obstruction].”
Police say the total dollar amount of damages is not yet known, and no charges have currently been laid.