When a blaze broke out on a steel-framed home in a southern Ontario town, a family of four came together with a plan to save the building.
“I was very excited, because we didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Jamie Brown, who owns a home on the property.
“But the first thing we did was to check to see if we could go up the stairs to get to the roof.”
As the building buckled, the family rushed up to the first floor to try and save the structure.
The family says they didn’t have time to check if the fire was still active before the roof started to collapse.
The home was one of two structures in the town of Rockford that were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s and has been on the market for more than 50 years.
“There were two other houses on the lot and we decided to go in,” said Brown.
“It was just kind of a big decision.”
Jamie Brown says the house on the corner was built in 1948.
(Submitted by Jamie Brown)The family was forced to move out of the home, which they now call the Steel Building, because it was too unsafe.
“We didn’t want it to get destroyed and we didn, because our family has been here for over 50 years and we’ve never had any problems,” said Stephanie Brown.
The town was also home to the Canadian Steel Corporation until 1953 when the company moved its headquarters to the city of Winnipeg.
The building was rebuilt and reopened in the 1970s.
“That’s when the building was converted into a fire station and a shelter and I’ve been living here for many years now,” said Redford resident and retired firefighter Steve Toth.
“When you go back, the roof is going to fall down and the walls are going to collapse and there’s nothing you can do.”
Redford Mayor Mark Burt says it’s a unique situation that has not happened in the area before.
“To be honest, we’re not even aware of it happening,” said Burt.
The city is now working with local residents to find ways to mitigate the risks of an incident similar to the one in Rockford.
“One thing that we are looking at is the potential for it to happen here, so we are working with the fire department to look at ways to prevent it,” said Toth who has been involved in the building’s restoration for 25 years.
A fire department spokesman said there has not been a fire in Rockfield in decades.