Dozens homeless after fire rips through Fort McMurray apartment
Published Sunday, September 9, 2012 10:49AM MDT
Dozens of people are homeless after a fire tore through an apartment building Fort McMurray Saturday night.
Emergency crews were called to the blaze at the three-level Signal Court apartment building at 200 Signal Road just before 9 p.m. Saturday.
"The first arriving units actually started to pull people off of balconies as well as there were a lot of bystanders initially on scene that were actually assisting people down from the second and third floors. It was kind of chaotic from my understanding," said Mike Woykin, Battalion Chief with the Fort McMurray Fire Department.
"Initially, on my arrival, the whole roof area on two-and-a-half sides was already engulfed in the fire."
It took about an hour to contain the blaze but firefighters were on scene for eight consecutive hours.
Wood Buffalo officials estimate between 50-100 residents have been affected by the blaze.
Residents were evacuated from the building, which has been deemed unsafe.
As of Sunday afternoon, Wood Buffalo officials said residents would not be allowed to enter the building, which included 36 rental units including an office.
Twenty-eight of the units in the building were occupied.
“There were some vacancies. That was another problem that we had had is that we had an unknown amount of people that were actually in the building and that was our biggest concern. We were hoping that we had everybody out of the building,” Woykin said.
Officials say there does not appear to be any injuries as a result of the fire.
Displaced residents spent Sunday accessing food, clothing and temporary group lodging at Thickwood Heights Public School in Fort McMurray – which had been set up as an emergency centre.
Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the blaze, though Woykin says it does not appear to be suspicious.
Woykin believes the building will be a total loss, but an official report on damage has yet to be determined.
Officials say the Fort McMurray Food Bank is currently accepting donations to assist displaced residents.
Residents missing pets are asked to call Fort McMurray SPCA at 780-743-8997 ext. 1.
There is also a Facebook Page where people can donate to evacuees.