Officials with the District of Sparwood and Emergency Support Services (ESS) are asking anyone displaced by the overnight fire in Sparwood Heights to register at the ESS Reception Centre.
“We are asking anyone from A, B, C or D buildings in Ponderosa Manor to register at the Leisure Centre,” explains ESS Director Joyce Kutzner. “Even if you are staying with friends or family, it’s important to register so that everyone is accounted for; that we can make sure everyone is aware of the support mechanisms available to them; and, so we have contact information to be able to provide ongoing communication moving forward.”
The ESS Reception Centre will be open until 8:00 PM tonight and will be open 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM starting Saturday morning and until further notice. The ESS team is in need of additional volunteers to help with support services. Training is provided and anyone interested in assisting as an ESS volunteer can contact the ESS Director or call 250-425-4752.
The evacuation remains in effect for approximately 96 units in the four buildings; however, emergency officials, utility companies and the strata council are working to restore power and access to buildings A, C and D as quickly as possible. The 24 units in B building are a total loss.
Another key immediate focus is on short-term lodging and support for all those affected. As a result, the District is asking anyone who may be able to billet families or who has an RV they would be willing to let affected residents use to contact email email@example.com and provide details of what they have to offer. “We have zero housing capacity in Sparwood and while we are working to identify some options, we are appealing to the community for help in the immediate short term,” says District of Sparwood CAO Terry Melcer.
The District is accepting donations of clothing and gift cards; however, cannot accept any homemade meals, furniture or larger items at this time. Details on how to donate and what is being accepted are available here.
Just after 9:30 pm last night, Sparwood Fire Services responded to the call in the B building. Emergency crews had the fire under control by 11:00 pm and worked into the early morning hours to knock down the fire and secure the scene. This afternoon, Elk Valley RCMP confirmed one fatality as a result of the fire. Upon the completion of the investigation into the cause of the blaze by Sparwood Fire Services, and in conjunction with the Fire Commissioners Office, the apartment complex has been released to the Strata Council.
Residents are encouraged to check the District of Sparwood website or contact the Strata Council for continued updates.
– Submitted by Regional District of East Kootenay and District of Sparwood