At the October 2019 groundbreaking, Lucy’s Place was called a “wonderful way to describe our city as a place where community cares."
That caring community was on full display when fire broke out at the Essa Road residential complex at around 1:40 a.m., Sunday.
Busby Centre executive director Sara Peddle told BarrieToday it was the efforts of those living there that kept the fire from spreading.
“Our staff noticed that one of the units was on fire and acted immediately. They grabbed a fire extinguisher that was on-site. Other residents came out and brought their extinguishers from their rooms,” Peddle said.
“Barrie Fire was there within minutes and it was under control pretty quickly," she added.
City police have charged a 35-year-old Barrie man with arson by negligence.
There were no injuries.
There was damage to one unit. All other residents were able to return to their units later that morning.
Lucy’s Place is an 18-unit supportive-housing complex which opened in April 2019 in the former motel. It is designed to help with the city's homeless population and address the lack of affordable housing. The name is to honour the memory of a woman named Lucy who died in 2014 after living on the streets of Barrie.
Peddle said she was touched by the family-like actions of the residents who came together to put the fire out.
“When we asked them later on about pitching in, they said that they just wanted to save their home. That was one of the most heart-touching feelings, because it really is their home,” said Peddle. “They made sure their home was safe (and) their neighbours were safe. This is a strong community.”
Peddle credited those who put the complex together for their “attention to detail,” saying the fire separation really does work and helped prevent further damage.