Supports in place for families affected by apartment fire

By Bryan Eneas
October 4, 2017 - 2:00pm Updated: October 4, 2017 - 4:00pm

After an apartment in the Crescent Heights neighbourhood caught fire resulting in the buildings evacuation, not many details are clear yet, but everyone involved is safe and sound. 

Just over 12 hours later, the Prince Albert Fire Department was on scene conducting investigations along with Prince Albert Police Services. Alex Paul, a battalion chief with the fire department, said no new details were available about the apartment fire or its causes as of yet, but did divulge one firefighter was injured in the fire.

“[He was taken to the hospital just with some shortness of breath, and a little bit of tightness in the chest. Probably just a little bit of overexertion” Paul said. “He’s back at work; he was cleared to return.”

Andrew Cunningham with Avenue Living, the company who owns the building which caught fire, said he didn’t know much yet about the fire and the company hasn’t been allowed into the building yet.

“We do know the fire occurred shortly after five central time,” Cunningham said. “But beyond that, it’s still an investigation in progress… we really can’t speculate any further.”

Cunningham speculated under 40 people would have been evacuated. He said 15 of 20 units were rented out at the time of the fire and he described the units as “very welcoming” in a “very well kept” building. The building did not have a sprinkler system, but Cunningham thought the working smoke alarms ultimately got residents out of the building faster.

Avenue Living is working within the other properties they own in Prince Albert to find housing for tenants affected by the fire.

“That’s the priority for us, we take the care and safety of our tenants very seriously and we’ll definitely be working with them to find suitable alternatives,” Cunningham said. “We have our manager onsite who handles Prince Albert… who’s been allocated for the entire week on this matter.”

Officials with the Red Cross confirmed 12 families required assistance from the emergency service organization.

Sue Laflemme, an outreach coordinator with the Red Cross offices in Prince Albert, was thankful for the help of the Crossroads Pentecostal Assembly, who opened their doors for volunteers to gather and meet the families affected by the blaze.

She also lauded her counterparts at the Prince Albert Fire Department and Mobile Crisis for the quick response

“It was very smooth,” Laflemme said. “Mobile Crisis is usually right on the scene immediately, and then very shortly after. Red Cross volunteers arrived and were able to start doing assessments with people and providing the assistance that we provide.”

She said families who were helped by the Red Cross received accommodation, food or clothing depending on the affected family’s needs in the first 72 hours.

Many families impacted by the fire have been put up at the Travelodge, according to the hotel’s manager Mona Selanders.

“They need a place to sleep, they need a place to eat, they need a place to visit to get their ducks lined up again after such a serious situation,” Selanders said. “We do what we can to make them comfortable.”

- With files from Glenn Hicks and Taylor MacPherson.


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