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Service Timmins and CDSSAB are coordinating donations for Empire evacuees

The decision on whether to tear down what’s left of the Empire Complex in Timmins is up to the owner.

Fire Chief Berny Stansa and a structural engineer have turned the property back over to the ownership, after completing an inspection.

A fire started early Saturday afternoon, and the battle against it waged into Sunday, with an aerial ladder truck on the scene until early Monday

The Empire was built as a hotel in 1925 by Mascioli Construction – not 1928 as earlier reported — and converted to apartments several years ago.

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On Saturday afternoon, in the early hours of the fire that ravaged the Empire Complex, collections were being started to help the one-hundred-or-so tenants of the 80 apartments.

Now, Service Timmins at City Hall and the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board have taken over accepting financial contributions.  But no food. They’re leaving that to other organizations.

CDSSAB communications manager Cameron Grant says Service Timmins will set aside some of the donated money for food.

“We understand the kindness behind it,” he states, “but we just don’t have the means to manager that intake at this time.”

The Empire Complex is privately owned, but the CDSSAB had some of its housing program participants living there.

Grant says most evacuees are temporarily housed at the Bon-Air Motel. He adds that CDSSAB housing support workers will visit to help determine their needs and hopefully re-house them.

Grant says the goal is to do that as soon as possible.

“I don’t have an exact number of days on that, but know that they do have as much time as they need,” he assures. “We’re obviously prioritizing that we’re getting them out of there as quickly as possible. Nobody’s going to be evicted.”

Our complete interview is below:

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