A weekend blaze at an apartment building in Moose Jaw has left several people without a home just before the holidays.
The fire broke out at Crestview Housing Cooperative on Wolfe Avenue at 10 a.m. Sunday, causing extensive damage to several suites and smoke damage to others.
Cindy Fuchs with the Saskatchewan Red Cross said local volunteers are helping 15 small families with shelter and other basic needs. She noted most people affected by the fire are older adults.
“We’ll look after them until they get their feet on the ground and figure out where they’re going to live next and whether they can move back into their apartments or not,” Fuchs said.
She added it’s always particularly difficult to see fires right before Christmas.
Fuchs encourages people who want to help to support the Red Cross holiday campaign online, which goes towards victims of all disasters in the province.
“You can actually order a blanket, you can buy a health kit or anything like we have been giving to families that have been affected by the Moose Jaw fire,” Fuchs explained.
Beyond meeting the immediate physical needs of people displaced by a fire such as this, the Red Cross also trains volunteers to provide emotional support.
“How to do good listening, a little bit of psycho-social support, because it’s quite traumatic when you’ve lost your home, particularly at this time of year,” she said. “Our volunteers would be making sure that families and people are doing OK, and if they need other more professional supports we will make sure that happens.”
Other community members have also stepped up to help in the wake of the fire.
First Baptist Church offered up its building as an organizational base and provided a meal to those affected, which included a few members of the congregation.
Church elder Randy Stevens said so it was important to help not only the church family, but also to extend that help to the wider community.