Careless smoking has been named the cause of a devastating apartment fire in the Town of Ste. Anne that left two dozen residents homeless and without house insurance.
On March 26, the Ste. Anne Fire Department was called to an apartment fire on St. Alphonse Ave in Ste. Anne around 11 PM. Nearly two dozen residents from twelve suites were evacuated when the structure went up in flames. There were no injuries but two cats lost their lives.
According to fire officials someone put a cigarette in a flower pot with peat moss where it smouldered for five hours before bursting into flames.
St. Anne fire chief Ken Dayment confirmed that the fire started on a second floor balcony and went up from there.
“If you are going to butt your cigarette out put it in a metal container and not in a plastic container,” Dayment stated.
Estimated loss to the structure and contents has been estimated at over $2 million.
In the wake of the blaze, the community of Ste. Anne and the surrounding area have pitched in to help the dozen families that were left homeless. Most of the tenants had contents insurance. Almost immediately the owners of the Ste. Anne Hotel offered displaced residents a free week at the hotel and started collecting donations of clothing for several families including young children. Country Charm Resort is also providing accommodations. The reception of clothes donations has been tremendous so that there is no need for more clothes.
The Community Development Corporation (CDC) Sainte-Anne has set up a “Fire victims fund at Caisse Financial Group. Caisse Financial Group has opened accounts in all of its 26 branches and will match donations up to $1000. People can donate at any Caisse Financial Group, locally.
Red Cross has issued vouchers for emergency necessities.
Nicole Magnan Bedient has been working hard spearheading many of the fundraising activities.
“People from all over have been offering to help – donations and furniture are being offered from Winnipeg, Beausejour and Ste Anne,“ stated Magna Bedient. “ What is needed most is people willing to pick up donations of furniture from Winnipeg and surrounding areas and bring to storage in Ste. Anne.“
Other area residents have stepped up and offered storage space for belongings until the tenants from a new home or rooms for the displaced families.
A fundraising evening is also being organized at the Ste Anne Hotel on April 27th with live entertainment and silent auction. All profits will be donated to help the victims.
Anyone wishing to donate to the silent auction or can help move larger furniture items or donate smaller furniture items, linens, and house wares can contact the Town of Ste. Anne office.
The fire commissioner speaks to residents who were displaced by a Marcy 26 fire in Ste. Anne
A cigarette butt placed in a flower pot was determined to be the cause of this fire which forced over two dozen people out of their homes.