By Steph Crosier
Twelve people lost their homes as a devastating fire destroyed the Sherwood Forest Inn Monday morning in downtown Trenton.
Firefighters responded to multiple 911 calls at around 9:40 Monday morning, said John Whalen, Quinte West fire chief.
“Originally we thought someone was trapped on the third floor so we initiated an offensive attack, went in the building, but there was no one inside,” said Whalen.
Whalen said that the Ontario Fire Marshall will be investigating the fire and estimates $600,000- $700,000 in damage.
Evacuated tenants were in shock and had little to say.
“I don’t know what to say,” said one. “ That’s my home.”
“That’s my home, all my stuff,” said another.
The fire spread rapidly through the 130-year-old building and once it did all firefighters could do was let it burn, aid Whalen
“There’s not much you can do once it gets into the walls,” said Whalen. “At the height of the fire we had four pumpers initiated, and two aerial trucks, one of which was from our neighbouring municipality of Belleville.”
Walt Lindgren was at the fire because a good friend of his had been living in the building.
“I’ve known her since she was a little girl,” said Lindgren. “I can’t find her anywhere.”
A few hours later Lindgren was relieved to hear that she was staying at friend’s house.
“She was in shock for sure,” said Lindgren. “I’m just happy that she is alright.”
Kristy Mills of the Red Cross was on the scene all day and evening with victim services.
Firefighters and police also evacuated about 100 people in the downtown core and asked businesses to close due to smoke and possible toxins in the air.
Some determined businesses still stayed open including a determined European deli, Delicatessen, with a back door to Quinte Street.
“Police have been coming in for sandwiches,” said cashier Doris Arppe. “We won’t be busy but I’m hoping we get some hungry firefighters too.”
Other businesses like the Scotiabank, across the street from the Sherwood, were evacuated and employees sent home.