Moncton apartment fire displaces many without tenants insurance
HALIFAX -- A fire at an apartment building in Moncton early Saturday morning has displaced more than a dozen people for the foreseeable future. With only a few of the building’s renters covered by tenants insurance, many are left wondering what happens next.
Nomatter Kamanula remembers the incident vividly. She and her two daughters were asleep in their beds when a fire broke out at their apartment building on McLaughlin Drive in Moncton.
"We were just scared,” says Kamanula. “All of our things were inside, and we just rushed, we couldn't even go back to take whatever. We just managed to get out, and we didn't even have warm clothes on – we just rushed out."
Moncton Fire Department platoon chief, Denis Dollemont, says his department was alerted just after midnight, adding the crews were able to knock the fire down quickly – but remained on scene for over two hours.
“Upon arrival, first in crews witnessed that the rear of the apartment building was completely engulfed in fire,” says Dollemont. “Two decks were on fire, and the fire was breaching the soffit, entering the attic area.”
Fortunately, no one was injured during the fire, and all of the tenants and their pets got out safely.
“This would have been a completely different beast to battle had it got into the attic area,” says Dollemont. “Everything was in our favour – one might say lady luck was with us last night.”
Despite exiting the building safely, the majority of the almost thirty tenants displaced from the 16-unit building are now in search of a place to live as they do not have tenants insurance.
“We have right now heard that only three out of sixteen people have tenants insurance,” says building owner, Mathieu Leger.
Leger says, in an attempt to keep costs down for renters, his company Rent Moncton doesn't require tenants to prove they have insurance – but tenants are encouraged to get it when they move in.
“We're here to try and help and give comfort to all of our tenants as much as we can,” says Leger. “It's a tough sell because we have to tell them the reality of things; that they're on their own.”
Leger says the building, which housed mostly students, has quite a bit of smoke damage throughout, but he hopes the process of moving tenants back in can be expedited.
“Hopefully, we have a section of the building that they can move back in quickly,” says Leger. “But we're talking about months of renovations to get the building back up to par.”
Fire investigators say they do not believe the fire to be suspicious. Meanwhile, volunteers from the Canadian Red Cross are assisting 16 adults from the building with emergency lodging and food; however, they expect the number of displaced residents to increase as some of the tenants were away during the weekend of the fire.