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'We’re kind of homeless': Fredericton fire displaces 110 people

A fire in Fredericton’s north side on Thursday has displaced 110 people at a time where the city is seeing extremely low vacancy rates.

No injuries were reported in the demise of the four storey, 42 unit apartment building.

Joleen Yeo lived on the first floor of the Clark Street apartment building, and was told by a passerby that the building was on fire.

"She seen me move, and said get out your house is on fire” Yeo said.

“I was like what, you know? No alarms went off, our sprinkler system of course, I don't know what makes that go off,” she said.

The fire was first reported at 3:31 p.m. and officially deemed extinguished at 10:22 p.m.

There were a number of challenges during the fire, including the fact it was mainly burning at the top floor and the roof.

"Attics have large open areas which fires can move through regardless of fire stops and breaks within the building,” said Fredericton Fire chief Dwyane Killingbeck.

“It's a very large building and fire in attics in this type of building are the hardest to fight.”

In a city already experiencing a housing crisis with a 1.5 per cent vacancy rate, the loss of the roof over 110 heads is significant.

"This is devastating, it's absolutely devastating,” said Jocelyn Pike, city councillor for Ward 4 where the building was located.

“The only thing I can say is we did have record residential housing starts this year, we're going for 1,500 a year we have a great development community.”

"Yeah now we're kind of homeless,” Yeo said.

Simran Sehgal came to Canada from India five-years-ago, and has been living in the building for the last three years.

"We made it from scratch, and now it's all gone,” Sehgal said.

Her top floor apartment is destroyed.

"I'm not a permanent resident or a citizen of Canada,” Sehgal said.

“So literally all my documents, passport, everything was in there, I just had my work clothes that I was wearing and my phone.”

Canadian Red Cross is supporting victims of the fire in need of shelter, food and clothing.

The fire is still under investigation and it is not determined when residents will be able to return to the building if at all to collect any of their belongings. 

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