Lunch aims to help Walnut Street tenants recover
Building repairs to 85 Walnut Sreet are well underway after a fatal fire, but the emotional scars of the tenants will likely take much longer to heal.
At a free community lunch held on Wednesday, residents say what happened last Thursday remains fresh in their minds.
Tenant Angie King, whose apartment is directly above the one where the fire started, is still living in a hotel.
“I’m a pretty strong person but this has totally drained me... usually when I hear the fire alarm going off I head for the balcony and I did the same thing this time and I saw the flames licking around the railing and shooting up about 20 feet in the air…and you know you’re facing death.”
She has lived in the building for 11 years, but after the fire she's not sure whether she can live here any longer, “When the possibility of going into my apartment, my whole body vibrates and I break out in [a] cold sweat. My nerves are just shot.”
Sean Delaney, 57, died after the fire broke out in his apartment. Two others remain in hospital in critical condition.
The lunch was put together by Goodwill Industries and hosted by London West MPP Peggy Sattler and City Councillor Judy Bryant.
Many of the tenants just want their lives to return to normal, but that may take some time because repairs won't be complete for several weeks.
Paul Roszell with the London-Middlsex Housing Corporation says “Our best estimate at this point in time is we’re still about two to three weeks away...Some tenants have what you could call special needs and we're working with them to try to meet those needs to make sure that everybody is supported and everybody is doing the best they can.”
King says as after the fire when she had no control it all remains “a very scary situation.”