Parkdale Food Center community pantry damaged by fire

The Parkdale Food Center community fridge and pantry is closed this weekend after a fire severely damaged the enclosure providing food to people in the community.

General manager Karen Secord says the closing of the refrigerator and pantry comes at a time when staff are filling them four, five or six times a day.

In a Facebook post, the Parkdale Food Center said the Road Runner II and accompanying pantry outside on Rosemount Avenue were “burnt down” on Friday night.

“This is definitely not how we would like to start the weekend, especially for neighbors accessing the fridge,” the Parkdale Food Center said.

“A big shout out to the off-duty firefighter who acted quickly, unplugging the fridge, averting a serious emergency. We are grateful for your good neighborliness.”

Secord told CTV News Ottawa that someone allegedly set a book on fire and placed it in the pantry around 5:40 p.m. Friday.

“Fortunately, an off-duty firefighter spotted the fire before it became an electrical fire and was able to remove the refrigerator with the help of someone working after hours at 30 Rosemount” , Secord said, adding that they ran to the nearby library to get a fire extinguisher.

The community fridge and pantry enclosure suffered smoke and water damage and will remain closed until further notice. The fire did not damage the refrigerator, which had just been replaced.

Secord says the Parkdale Food Center will have to use its donations to replace or repair the enclosure, at a time when the need for food is high and the cost of produce is high.

A report has been filed with the Ottawa Police Service.

The Parkdale Food Center is a community food bank serving the Hintonburg, Mechanicsville and Civic Hospital areas.

The Road Runner II is located across from the Parkdale Food Center at 30 Rosemount Avenue.

“Road Runner will share great food. Remember to take what you need and leave what you can,” the Parkdale Food Center says on its website.

Norma P. Rex