© Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
Moose Jaw firefighters battle the early stages of Wednesday night's fire that destroyed four businesses and left 20 people temporarily without permanent accommodation.
Majority uninsured, receiving temporary Red Cross aid
Chris Hall was sleeping when the smell of smoke woke him up late Wednesday evening.
“I opened my eyes and they were blanketed by smoke,” Hall told the Times-Herald Thursday afternoon.
“I grabbed my stuff, opened up a window just in case the door was too hot and I needed to go out that way. I checked the door and it was fine, so I opened it and just guided myself down the two stories of stairs.”
Hall did so slowly, noting that was all he could do.
His phone, wallet and the clothes on his back were the only possessions he managed to escape with.
According to Judi Robertson, the community outreach co-orindator for the Canadian Red Cross’ Moose Jaw branch, Hall was one of 20 people whose residences were in some way affected by the fire that spread through the Jubilee Block late Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday morning.
Hall lost everything. He was also uninsured.
“I was supposed to get insurance this weekend,” Hall said. “I kind of missed it by a day or two.”
Although he admitted to being a little upset, Hall acknowledged the possessions he had could easily be replaced.
However, he also believed the spread of the fire was preventable.
“I don't know if they had sprinklers or not,” Hall said. “I don't recall ever seeing any.”
In the mean time, he is receiving temporary aid from the Canadian Red Cross.
“In the case of house fires, we provide assistance for three days in the form of food, clothing and shelter,” Robertson said.
Jason Saxby and Nicole Condie are also receiving temporary aid from the Red Cross.
She was getting ready for bed and he was on his way back to their apartment when her nose caught a whiff of smoke.
“It smelled like when you blow a candle out,” said Condie. “Then I heard the fire trucks, looked out my back window and saw smoke billowing. So I called him and let him know that there was something going on.”
- Read more special articles:
- Lost to the fires on High Street West
- Loss of century-old Jubilee Block a cultural blow
- Moose Jaw community rallies for fire victims
- Jubilee Block destroyed
She threw on her and as she went down the stairs, police were on their way up evacuating everyone living in the Jubilee Block along the zero block of High Street West.
Condie said is all happened within minutes.
Like Hall, the common-law couple doesn’t have insurance.
“We understood that there were only two residents out of all of us that had insurance,” she said.
There’s a chance the couple might be able to move back into their residence, but they weren’t too optimistic about their chances.
Even though Condie is worried about some of her possessions – she just moved into the residence last week – she feels worse for people who lost everything.
Fortunately, all of the residents have been accounted for and none of them have any injuries.
For that reason alone, Hall’s father Eldon Hall was thankful after driving in from Radville.
“He's not burnt and he's not dead,” Eldon said regarding his son. “I didn't have to come to Moose Jaw to identify a body.”
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks
Morgan Gabel, will be hosting a Steak Night at Chillers Brew Pub on April 3 (5-8 p.m.) in support of fire victims. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by contacting Gabel at 306-691-1576 or Marissa McCartney at 306-313-1300. There will also be a 50/50 draw, a raffle and donations in the form of clothing and cash will also be collected.