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Monday, July 27, 2020

Here's what's known about the massive townhouse fires in Richmond Hill and Hamilton

Not one, but two enormous fires broke out at townhouse complexes in the GTHA over the past 24 hours, displacing dozens of people from multiple units.

The first blaze started around 2 p.m. on Sunday in a neighbourhood on Weldrick Road near Yonge Street in Richmond Hill.

The flames and smoke were so thick — made worse by the extreme summer temperatures (the region was under a heat warning) — that firefighters were called in from neighbouring municipalities to help battle the inferno.

A total of 16 individual homes were affected by the "out of control" blaze, Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Burbidge told media yesterday afternoon while crews of nearly 60 continued to struggle to get things under control. 

Dark smoke blanketed the area and could be seen from quite a ways off, but thankfully, the buildings were all evacuated safely and no one was injured.

Officials are still looking into how and where the fire started.

About 12 hours later and one hour southwest, a second huge fire erupted in yet another townhouse complex, this time in Hamilton starting around 2:40 a.m.

A total of 11 units in the city's Stoney Creek neighbourhood near Fifty Raod and the QEW ended up being severely structurally damaged.

Crews told CP24 at the scene that high winds overnight helped to carry the blaze from one of the three-storey structures to multiple others.

“We had heavy winds from the South," Fire Chief Dave Cunliffe told the news outlet this morning. "Crews did a tremendous job cutting this fire off. We have two aerials in operation at this location. They went to the north and quickly cut it off from getting into the next block of eight.”

As with the Richmond Hill fire, the source of the fire is still unknown, and no one was injured during the incident.

Firefighters will apparently be on the scene for most of the day to put out the still-burning hotspots.

Locals were quick to thank the brave first responders who helped contain and quell both catastrophes. Meanwhile, Red Cross will be helping those whose homes were destroyed with food and shelter.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

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