Hawkesbury – Heavy rains damaged an apartment building on Regent Street in Hawkesbury, displacing people living in eight apartments. After being asked to leave by the fire department on the evening of August 13, residents hadn’t moved back in as of August 18.

Terry Armstrong, who lived in one of the apartments, said he came home from work at about 9:30 p.m., his building was surrounded by fire trucks and police cars.

Water and debris on the floor of a Regent Street apartment damaged by rain. Photo by Terry Armstrong.

Water and debris on the floor of a Regent Street apartment damaged by rain. (Photo by Terry Armstrong)

“Like Niagara Falls” 

Hawkesbury fire chief Roger Champagne said a hole in the building’s roof was under repair on Saturday. “Because of the heavy rain we had, a significant amount of water had gotten into one of the apartments,” he said. “Due to the extent of damage, we weren’t sure of the roof’s  safety, so we evacuated the entire complex.

Armstrong said the residents knew about a hole in the ceiling, and had reported it to the landlord, who said it would be until October until it was fixed. “It was pouring down like Niagara falls,” he said of the situation on Saturday.

Armstrong said he and some of the other residents have spoken with LegalAid, and he hopes he will be able to get his rent back, as compensation for the cost of finding a new home. He and his fiance are now living with Armstrong’s father, and plan to move to a new apartment building. Champagne said the Red Cross was involved in the incident and some other residents of the apartment building were brought to a hotel.

Fire code issues 

Photos provided by Armstrong show a damaged ceiling and water on the floor – but it’s not the water damage preventing people from moving back in. Champagne said while responding to the incident on Saturday, firefighters noticed “other issues from a fire prevention perspective.” He said he couldn’t give any more details, but the Hawkesbury building and fire departments are working on the “other deficiencies within the building,” which are not related to the water damage.