It has been one year since a fire at a senior’s home in Carievale, Sask. forced eight residents to temporarily relocate. The building, owned by the provincial government, has yet to be repaired. Now, some seniors are worried that they will never be allowed to return home.
The fire at the Carievale senior’s home started in the boiler room on Jan. 11 of last year. It spread through a crawl space to a pair of adjoining suites before firefighters contained the blaze. Kris Carley is one of the firefighters who responded.
“It was tough watching everything your grandma has go up in smoke. We as a family came together and we made sure that we found her a place to stay,” he said.
Most of the damage occurred to the boiler room and the two suites. The remainder of the ten unit building appears intact. Eight residents were offered space in public housing units both in Carievale and neighbouring communities. Kris’s grandma is now in Carnduff, Sask.
“She’s living on her own now in that duplex unit which I guess when you are accustomed to going for coffee every morning and having lunch with the other residents every day, it’s a bit of a culture shock,” Carley said.
Now that the residents have been relocated elsewhere, the provincial government is questioning the need to repair and reopen the Carievale senior’s home.
“So at this time we don’t anticipate replacing those units but that decision is not yet final,” said Louise Michaud, president of the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
Damage is estimated at $1.4 million. Some in the community are concerned that the government might pocket the insurance money and leave the town with nothing. The leader of the Buffalo Party is among those who have toured the building.
“Sometimes even though it’s not cost effective and maybe not the best thing to do, just do the right thing and fix the seniors home and make it a nice place for them to come home to again,” said Phil Zajac, leader of the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan.
The provincial government had offered the seniors home to the town but it was not clear who would cover the cost of repairs. The community felt it was too small to assume the responsibility and hopes the province won’t knock down the building and walk away.