CANADA

Clan shocked as fire razes home, landmark furniture store

Owners of a landmark Tillsonburg furniture store are in shock after fire razed the building, which housed their home and business, a family member says.

Emergency crews were called to a fire on Simcoe Street in the town of nearly 16,000 southeast of London at about 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oxford OPP said. Paramedics assessed one person at the scene; no other injuries were reported.

Tyler Morrice, whose family owns the iconic Morrice Furniture store, said the blaze destroyed the building, including the clan’s top-floor apartments.

“I’m just shocked,” he said. “And now, we’re kind of figuring out all the things that you need on a day-to-day basis, like clothes and towels and little things that you don’t think about.”

Cause of the fire, which closed Simcoe Street between Ball Street and Potters Road for hours Wednesday, is still under investigation, police said.

Officials have not provided a damage estimate, but Morrice says little remains of the building.

“It’s all gone,” he said. “It’s all burned up. . . . All the furniture that was in there is probably all toast, and all of our belongings, they’re all gone.”

Morrice wasn’t home when the fire broke out, but his mother and aunt were in the store and made it out safely, he said. “(My parents are) shaken up. They’ve been there for a long time, so it’s a big shock to their system.”

Morrice Furniture, a fixture in Tillsonburg for seven decades, was founded by his grandparents in 1948, he said. An online fundraiser to assist the Morrice family had raised nearly $5,200 by Thursday afternoon.

“I am hoping that we, the community of Tillsonburg, can come together to help this family during this tragic time,” Tim Armstrong, who works with Morrice at a local home audio retailer, said on the fundraising page.

“If you have ever stopped in or had the chance to meet the Morrice family, you would know they are the most genuine, humble people.”

Morrice said he’s in awe of the outpouring of support from friends, family and area residents as his family seeks a more permanent place to stay. “It’s great to see the support,” he said. “That’s been very helpful and more far-reaching than I anticipated.”

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