“We have a commercial coffee maker on it. It’s always stocked and ready to go to serve hot meals on very short notice,” said Dunbar, who was in Orléans that day helping out Ratcliffe and his neighbours.
Other appliances include two stove burners, a grill, a microwave and a freezer chest and cupboards that are filled with plastic foam cups, plates and plastic cutlery.
Another Salvation Army vehicle that was deployed to the Orléans fire was the victims' services truck, which is a refitted ambulance donated by the City of Ottawa.
“We carry clothing, teddy bears for kids, hygiene products, diapers, footwear and in the winter time we carry coats,” he said.
The truck is also equipped with a television and DVD player to let children watch movies to get their minds off of traumatic events they might have experienced, he said.
Ratcliffe’s home was damaged by the smoke and he was not able to return home that evening, but the Red Cross set him up for a few nights at the Lord Elgin Hotel.
“(The Red Cross) made all the arrangements for us to go to a hotel. They even took us to the hotel. It’s amazing,” he said.
Ottawa Fire Services has maintained a strong and lengthy relationship with volunteer organizations, said Danielle Cardinal, information officer for the city’s emergency and protective services.
“(The volunteers) provide a large support role because our firefighters can then focus on the fire operations and know that these persons are being taken care of.”
“And the canteen is very helpful for our crews who are on-scene for extended periods of time. In the winter months, they appreciate a warm beverage and somewhere to warm up, and in the summer months they appreciate a cold beverage and somewhere to recover and refuel,” Cardinal said.
Reflecting on the day of the fire, Ratcliffe said that he thinks the volunteers deserve a bit more recognition.
“People should know that these people give their time to help out people that are in distress. I work part-time at Home Depot because I’m semi-retired and I’m even thinking of donating my time to them,” said Ratcliffe, who will be staying with a friend for the next six weeks.
Cox, A. (2016, June 26). Orleans resident extends praise to volunteers after fire. The Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved from http://www.ottawacitizen.com