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Cats, urns retrieved from collapsed building in Penetanguishene

'These little victories remind us of the importance of community and coming together to support one another,' says town official

The Midland/Penetanguishene Fire Department was successful Tuesday evening in recovering two missing cats, Angel and Thor, that were separated from their owner when a portion of 78 Main St. partially collapsed last Thursday, forcing the pets' owner to evacuate quickly.

"We are thrilled to report that both furry friends have been safely reunited with their owners," posted the Town of Penetanguishene on its Facebook page.

And that's not all.

"We are also happy to report that they were able to retrieve family urns that were undamaged in the collapse.

"These little victories remind us of the importance of community and coming together to support one another. Let's continue to spread joy and positivity wherever we can," read the post.

A team of firefighters, engineers, Penetanguishene's chief building official and heavy equipment operators have been working on the scene since two walls of the building collapsed at 3 a.m. Sept. 7.

The multiple storefront structure with multiple second-floor apartments were immediately evacuated by police, while electricity and gas was turned off.

More than a dozen people were put out of their homes. The Town of Penetanguishene, together with the County of Simcoe, Red Cross, Empower Simcoe, and the Salvation Army have been supporting and assisting those in need with temporary accommodations. Food, clothes, and emergency supplies have been provided.

Demolition of the site began Monday with an excavator under the careful eye of engineers, town staff and firefighters.

Main Street below Robert in the immediate area has been cordoned off to pedestrian and vehicle traffic since early Thursday morning.

Now that the clean up is well underway and debris, which posed a public hazard, has been cleared, portions of the street are being re-opened to pedestrian traffic.

"The east side, and a small portion of the west side of the sidewalks surrounding the area will reopen today to allow for pedestrian traffic and business storefront access. A full road closure remains in effect until further notice," reads a statement from the Town.

A detailed map attached show areas that are still blocked off for ongoing safety concerns. Residents and businesses at 78, 76, 74, 72, 70, 68 and 66 Main St. and 2 Water St. continue to be evacuated until further notice.


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Gisele Winton Sarvis

About the Author: Gisele Winton Sarvis

Gisele Winton Sarvis is an award winning journalist and photographer who has focused on telling the stories of the people of Simcoe County for more than 25 years
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