Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Home Woman business String of Christmas weekend fires has Winnipeg community activist concerned

String of Christmas weekend fires has Winnipeg community activist concerned

A string of Christmas weekend fires has Winnipeg community activist Sel Burrows concerned. He said he is hoping to see more fire prevention efforts in the New Year.

Between the evening of Dec. 24 and the morning of Dec. 25, a total of five significant fires took place, according to the city.

Notably, a fire shortly after 4 a.m. Christmas Day at a six-storey building on Qu’Appelle Avenue left 42 residents displaced and six people hospitalized, including three in critical condition.

“Well, it tells us that our older housing stocks are in danger,” Burrows said.

Burrows said he’s seen improvements even since the fall, with a task force collaborating to prevent fires in abandoned buildings, but the work far outweighs the resources.

Read more:

Winnipeg needs stronger fire prevention program, says community safety advocate

Story continues below advertisement

“We’ve got 2,000 units of vacant housing out there that need to be fixed, and many of these fires are there,” Burrows said.

The city told Global News this summer there were 64 fires in vacant buildings in 2021, more than double the year previous.

In 2023, Burrows wants to see these properties secured, including those owned by the city.

“The city real estate department isn’t following the bylaw department’s rules. And so we’ve had several (fires), at least two that I know of. City-owned, vacant houses burned.”

Read more:

Winnipeg re-evaluating fees, options for derelict buildings amid growing challenges

Burrows also mentioned the fire risk posed in the winter when people attempt to heat up older buildings.

“You get the issues like when you hit the 26 below and the landlord hasn’t kept the heat up, somebody goes out and buys an old secondhand heater that tips over at night and causes a fire.”

“The fire department’s identified a major cause of fires. You know, when it gets really cold, people turn their stove on, they turn everything on to try and keep hot and the wires overload.

Read more:

Derelict buildings in Winnipeg pose major risks to communities, first responders

Story continues below advertisement

“So those are two things that the city needs to take the initiative to get the province to ban older heaters and to work with hydro.”

Burrows hopes the city’s new mayor will address with resources and programming for inner-city youth, which he said are desperately needed. “We cannot afford to have more inner-city housing lost to fire.”

“We have too many homeless already and it’s the marginally housed that live in these apartment blocks and places that burn.”

— With files from Global’s Iris Dyck


Click to play video: 'Seven people temporarily displaced by Sherbrook Street apartment fire'


Seven people temporarily displaced by Sherbrook Street apartment fire


&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Most Popular

Edmonton Oilers motor to victory in Detroit with 5-2 win over Red Wings

Warren Foegele scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers toppled the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 Tuesday night. The Oilers are 8-0-1 in their last nine games....

Biden highlights economy, spars with Republicans in State of the Union speech

U.S. President Joe Biden sought to overcome pessimism about the country’s direction — and his own political prospects as he stares down a re-election...

Biden touts economic progress and spars with Republicans in contentious State of the Union address

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden touted his economic accomplishments and offered a scolding for Republicans — previewing the case he'll make for re-election —...

The Secret Of The Success Of Virtual Worlds: Compelling Avatars

The next generation of web technologies - blockchain, smart contracts, artificial intelligence, collectively known as Web3 - empower people to connect with each other...