The London Fire Department thanked citizens and crews on Friday after a unique structure fire at 374 Simcoe Street last year.
On December 28th, Arko Ypma, a blind senior tenant living on the third floor was rescued by his seeing eye dog Trooper and his neighbor Pam Claveau after his vacuum overheated and started a blaze in his apartment.
“It just exploded all so fast,” Ypma said. “It happened within 15 minutes and then it was all over. It was an emergency situation at the time. It caused a lot of tension and trauma.”
Ypma escape the blaze with burns to his hands. Crews rushed him to hospital for treatment. He is currently recovering.
At the Memorial Headquarters, Deputy Fire Chief Brian McLaughlin, Pam, Arko and his daughter Suzanne Ypma-Williams spoke about their experiences during the situation.
“[To know the fire plan] came into play that day and know that it in itself saved my dad’s life and saved the rest of the apartment building and complex from further smoke damage is awesome,” Ypma-Williams said.
Jordan Millward, President of the board of the Jefferson-Roth habitat of London says he will be working to help Arko move back into the residence once it has been restored.
“Content insurance is so important. I’ll never live without it,” Ypma said. “I am so glad Community Habitat is willing to take me back and do not think I am a high risk.”
Regional Manager of CNIB Betty Leeson says any bills or costs related to Arko’s or Trooper’s injuries would be taken care of.
Ypma-Williams started a gofundme page to help pay for essential technology her father depends on.
McLaughlin says crews are grateful that everyone was successfully evacuated and that the fire could be contained.
“We don’t wanna see anyone injured. We don’t wanna see anyone die,” McLaughlin said. “It is important for people to take proactive steps early in the stages of protecting themselves.”
Suzanne’s daughters made a painting for fire crews to show their appreciation for their efforts.