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Moncton fire department gives update on woman, children sent to hospital

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With three structure fires in three days, it's been a busy week for the Moncton Fire Department.

The most serious of the three, an apartment fire on Bonaccord Street during Monday's snowstorm, saw firefighters rescue an adult woman and three children. All were found unconscious and sent to hospital.

A total of seven people were displaced by the fire.

On Friday, Moncton Fire Department Deputy Chief Charles LeBlanc had an update on the condition of the woman and three children.

"We're still basically waiting for some of the results. To my understanding, some of those victims are starting to get better, but I don't have a full update," said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said it's a miracle everyone survived Monday's fire on Bonaccord due to the intense heat, smoke and flames. He's happy to report everyone appears to be doing better.

That's more news than firefighters usually get.

No matter how dramatic the rescue, the department usually doesn't have an avenue to find out how the victims are doing but they can't help but wonder.

Platoon Chief Brian McDonald said that can be tough at times.

"After all we are human. We are affected by what we see and do. However, we're prepared for it. In the back of our minds, we know it can always happen. But what happens for us is when there is a rescue for anybody we care about what happened and we care about the people," said McDonald.

The same goes for the Red Cross.

Volunteers are usually standing by when families are displaced by fire and provide temporary lodging and other necessities, but interaction can be brief.

Contact with fire victims tends to be in the immediate hours after the fire, said Dan Bedell, Atlantic Region Canadian Red Cross spokesperson.

"Our assistance tends to be for just those initial hours or days. We do sometimes hear from people afterwards -- a thank you email or a follow-up phone call. Doesn't happen all the time," said Bedell.

The investigation is ongoing for Monday's fire as well as the fire late Wednesday night at a home on Timberway Lane and early Thursday morning at an unoccupied building on Anne Street.

The charred remains of a home in Moncton, N.B., is pictured on Jan. 26, 2023. (Derek Haggett/CTV)

The Canadian Red Cross is assisting a family of four who was displaced in the Timberway Lane fire after the fire significantly damaged their home.

"Yes indeed, it has been a little unusual to have three homes burn in one week," said McDonald. "However, the causes vary at this time of year."

All three fires appear to be accidental and continue to be under investigation.

LeBlanc and McDonald are warning people to be cautious when using extra electrical cords, space heaters and generators during the winter months.

"We're awaiting some extremely cold weather over the next few days," said LeBlanc. "A lot of people this time of year are going to be using those small heaters that you can get at the local hardware store. One of the things I want to remind the public is these are for temporary use only."

LeBlanc said some people use portable heaters on a permanent basis.

"They're not designed for that," he said. "There is a limited shelf life on these units."

Doing more to heat homes -- electrical cords, space heaters and generators -- adds an element to why there are more fires in the winter months.

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