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Bradford woman airlifted to hospital, police investigation ongoing

'She could have gotten help sooner, if people took this building more seriously,' says resident of Holland Street West apartment complex, who made call to 911

A “situation in the community” led to a brief hold and secure being placed on Bradford’s public secondary school Wednesday morning.

While few details about the incident itself have been confirmed, the Simcoe County District School Board issued a statement via social media Jan. 17, noting Bradford District High School had taken the security measure.

“Students and staff are safe,” the board posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “The school day is proceeding as scheduled.”

Hold and secure is a response to a threat or incident in the general vicinity of a school, where the doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter or leave the building.

Just after noon on Jan. 17, South Simcoe police issued a public advisory, noting officers were present for an ongoing investigation in the area of Holland Street West and Harmony Circle.

Police have confirmed a woman was injured and transported to a Toronto trauma centre via Ornge air ambulance. 

“No threat to public safety,” spokesperson Sue Sgambati said in an email. “Updates when appropriate.”

A few hours later, Sgambati said in followup emails that foul play is not suspected, the scene has been cleared and no further information will be released. 

Samantha Ramsay lives in the apartment complex at 220 Holland St. W., where the incident is alleged to have occurred. At about 9 a.m., she heard screaming, but didn’t know where it was coming from. She admits to tuning it out, to some extent, because she says that type of noise — which she often associates with crime and drug use — is common in the area.

“I didn’t know where (it) was coming from; we live in a bit of an unfavourable building,” she said. “Hearing screaming isn’t something that is unusual.”

About 25 minutes later, she went out onto her balcony and looked down to see the woman hurt and lying in the snow. She was calling for help. 

Ramsay took a photo to better gauge the extent of the woman’s injuries, then called 911. 

“Once I realized she was significantly injured, I was on the phone with the police,” Ramsay said. “She has multiple injuries, for sure.”

Officers spent several hours going door-to-door between units within the building Wednesday, Ramsay said.

Ramsay has lived in the complex for six years but had never seen the woman before. She estimates the woman is likely in her 40s. 

“This is a building they turn a blind eye to; we have a lot of issues,” said Ramsay, a single mother. “When I heard screaming, my first thought was that there was a drug addict trying to get into the building. We hear screaming and we want to stay out of it … it gets us nowhere but in trouble. We keep to ourselves. The lower-income people in this community get brushed to the side and because of that we see a lot more tragedies in this area than other people in Bradford. She could have gotten help sooner, if people took this building more seriously.” 

Board communications manager Sarah Kekewich says the hold and secure lasted about 20 minutes and was called, in part, because emergency personnel needed an area to land the helicopter.

“Emergency services did utilize the school property to land the air ambulance,” she said. “The hold and secure was initiated to keep students safe and in the building while emergency services attended to a situation in the community.”

Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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