It was all new for a Regina couple; newly married in a new city, and now they need a new home after theirs went up in flames Saturday night.
Ankita Varantani and Hitesh Lalwani moved from Toronto three months ago to the fourth floor apartment on 104 Hanbidge Crescent, which is just off of Sherwood Drive in the northwest end of the city.
The couple said they started smelling smoke around 11 p.m. and checked their appliances to find nothing out of the ordinary.
Around 11:30 p.m., the smoke smell got stronger and they ran outside to call 9-1-1.
The first fire truck arrived on scene around midnight with seven more to come.
“We were just standing there and seeing our house getting destroyed,” said Varantani. “I feel terrible. I’m so devastated. I didn’t expect these things happening in our life.”
Lalwani said the cause must have been “related to the building” as the fire was on the roof and not inside, so now they’re expecting some sort of compensation.
Varantani added they were told management is having a meeting on Monday to decide what happens with those affected.
For now, they’ve been shifted to another apartment on the opposite side of the street.
Meanwhile, Aliya Fenske set up a GoFundMe page for those affected by the fire.
Witnesses tell 980 CJME at least 16 apartments on both sides are affected by the fire on Hanbidge Crescent in northwest #YQR Saturday night. The blaze apparently started on the 4th floor. Video submitted by Shelley Hellquist. pic.twitter.com/9Rv6zhSY7j
— 980 CJME (@CJMENews) August 12, 2018
Regina Fire’s Deputy Chief David Kinvig said the fire took until about 5:40 a.m. to completely put out, meaning it was blazing for over five hours.
A handful of apartment buildings were affected and have been closed off for investigation.
Kinvig said a fire marshal and inspector were there Sunday and will continue investigating on Monday.
Fifteen families and 39 individuals impacted by the Hanbidge Crescent apartment fire are getting a hand from the Red Cross.
They’re being provided with food, clothing and accommodation.
— With files from Jessie Anton