Residence fire damage assessed at $1.2 million

Renovations at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo College Hall (WCH) residence are currently underway to repair the damage caused by a fire in mid-April. They are expected to cost $1.2 million and will be covered by insurance.

According to assistant vice-president of physical resources Gary Nower, repairs include both structural and electrical elements, as well as cleaning and replacing furniture.

“We’ve taken out a building permit and it’s a construction site,” said Nower.

The fire broke out on the evening of April 14 in a room on the fourth floor of the residence.

First-year student David LaForest died in a Hamilton hospital days later as a result of burn wounds.

All students living in the building – approximately 320 – had to evacuate the residence for the remainder of the semester.

They were housed in hotels for a few days and following that were relocated to other student residences.

The cause of the fire has yet to be identified, but it has been stated by the university that it is an isolated incident.

“It’s still under investigation,” said Olaf Heinzel, public affairs co-ordinator of the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRSP).

“Evidence from the scene was sent for expert analysis and we’re still waiting for the results on that.”

Heinzel noted that WRPS is unable to predict when the results will be made public because they are still waiting on information from the lab.

The renovations, however, are expected to be complete by mid-August so that incoming first-years can move into the building in September.