Firefighters chopping hoses out of ice.

Coated with frost themselves, firefighters Tim Askin, left, and Earl Smith, both of the Central firehall, took an axe to the ice in front of the Y to free water lines.


Most Central “Y” programs likely to continue in other facilities By Cheryl Hamilton of The Free Press

The London Central YM-YWCA is down for now, but it’s definitely not out of commission, general manager Murray Faulkner said Sunday.

Hours after an early morning fire destroyed most of the recreational facilities at the Y headquarters on Wellington Street, staff and board members were in a brainstorming session to work out alternative locations to hold programs.

Faulkner said he expects most of the programs that were held in the central building–many of which were to start the winter season schedule today–can be housed in other facilities in the community.

But Y staff will need some time to work things out, so programs at the Central Y are postponed temporarily.

However, programs at the Bob Hayward branch will continue as usual, as will any other Y programs at locations other than the central building, such as Shape-Up London fitness classes that are held in  school gyms.

Faulkner said those who take fitness classes or recreational swims at the central building are invited to carry on at the Hayward branch.  Ladies’ Day Out participants at the Central Y will be able to take their program at the Hayward branch on the same day as they usually day, except for Monday’s group which may be switched to Thursdays.

The novice swim team which used the Central Y pool will move to the Hayward branch, and the aquatic club is contacting its members to tell those who used the central pool where to swim now.

Faulkner said about 500 people normally use the Central Y facilities in a day, so there is much relocating to do.

He expects the large swimming pool can be salvaged and put back into use.  But that won’t be for a while and, once  it is back in operation, there may be problems with access to it because many of the locker room facilities were wiped out in the fire.

Faulkner said the Y will have more announcements through the week about what it is going to do, but those who have questions about programs should call the Hayward Y.

Central Y staff were moving temporarily Sunday into offices in the London Life building set aside for the fund-raising campaign for the new Y building which is to be built at King and Waterloo Streets and is to open in January, 1983.

Faulkner said anyone who has paid for a program but finds he can’t take it at the new time or location will be able to obtain a refund.

About 50 staff members work out of the central headquarters.  Faulkner said those who haven’t been contacted to report to work today are being asked to stay home until they receive word on where to go.

The meeting Sunday afternoon in the London Life building started out decidedly glum–there were a few tears and some staff personnel who had escaped the fire were still shaky–but as things started to get organized, the mood brightened.

There was considerable concern about the loss of records, medical records for post-cardiac program participants, accounting records and other program files.  “All that work, gone”, said one staffer dispiritedly.