Residents in the Elm Park area are coming to terms with a recent fire at Windsor Community Centre that caused an estimated $500,000 in damage.
The blaze occurred at the popular, well-used facility — which is located at 99 Springside Dr. — on the evening of Aug. 5. Nobody was inside the building at the time. Smoke and water damage are extensive.
The centre’s office manager, Cathy Surbey, said fire trucks were on the scene around 9:15 p.m. that night and were gone at approximately 1 a.m. The cause of the fire has not been officially confirmed, although it’s believed it was an electrical fire that started in the basement.
"The common thought is that it started in the basement, although there’s no official cause of yet," Surbey said.
Speaking to The Lance the day after the blaze, Surbey was coming to terms with the impact of the fire as city staff and fire restoration crews worked on the 23-year old building and a fence was being to erected to safeguard the facility.
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet. We’re just at the beginning stages, as they are here securing the building, clearing up the broken glass and fixing up holes in the ceiling," she said.
"Most of the damage occurred downstairs and now it’s all garbage. We’re not allowed to keep anything. Furniture, supplies — we’ve lost everything."
Despite the tangible material losses, Surbey is thankful no one was in the building at the time of the fire — and said the close-knit community will regroup in the coming months and begin building for the future.
"It’s just a building. This is an opportunity to rebuild and make the centre even better," Surbey said, noting that Louis Riel School Division has offered space for the centre’s daycare program at Windsor School nearby.
Jackie Hanna, the centre’s president, said countless members of the local community had already stepped up to show its support.
"We’re a small-town environment within a big city here and the community always rallies round to help out. This is what our neighbourhood is all about. I’ve grown up in this neighbourhood and people will people will come when you call. People care about each other in this neighbourhood. When push comes to shove, they’re here for you. We’re a small club, but when it’s 50 below, people are out here skating," Hanna said.
Despite the obvious challenges that now lay ahead for organizers, Hanna is determined the fire won’t wipe out the next few months of programming.
"For the next six months, we’ll let the professionals do their work. When all is said and done, we don’t want to slow down with our programs. Hopefully, we don’t skip a beat. Glenwood and Norberry-Glenlee (community centres) have already been on the phone and offered their support," Hanna said.
"The ice will be in this winter. They’re saying six months, so we’ll see what happens. In terms of programming, our priority right now is to get the daycare up and running."
To contact the centre, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Surbey said that emails may not be returned straight away, but they will be returned.