Moose Jaw Residents Evacuated Over Dangerous Apartment Safety Risks


In a swift action to avert potential disaster, residents of a Moose Jaw apartment building were urgently evacuated following the discovery of multiple safety risks. City officials, in conjunction with the local fire department and police, identified the risks during an inspection, leading to the immediate shutdown of the building.

Rod Montgomery, the respected Moose Jaw Fire Chief, elaborated on the severity of the discovered issues during a press briefing. “A plethora of safety issues came to light during the inspection, which necessitated the building’s immediate closure. It was a smorgasbord of infractions – fire safety concerns, building code violations, electrical faults and, most alarmingly, a gas leak,” Montgomery outlined.

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The severity of the leak led to the immediate discontinuation of utilities to the building given the precarious nature of gas accumulations. According to Montgomery, the situation could have escalated far more dangerously, had the gas not been turned off promptly.

The inspection team identified numerous other safety concerns – inoperable windows, decaying fire escape floors, suites without door locks, and excess combustible materials blocking emergency escape routes. But the most concerning issue, as Montgomery pointed out the severity of it, was the non-functioning smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire alarm pull stations.

Compounding these safety issues was the building’s high occupancy level. The building housed 18 units, and at the time of evacuation, only two were vacant. Moose Jaw Police Service Chief, Rick Bourassa, stated that an estimated 24 people resided in the building, complemented by a steady flow of transient visitors.

He revealed that the law enforcement had been called to the building numerous times, having responded to 107 incidents in just the first half of 2023. Instances ranged from conflicts and disturbances to criminal activity.

Fortunately, the evacuated residents received immediate support for relocation through local social services, ensuring they were not left abandoned. They were provided with essentials such as hygiene packs, food, clothing, and housing applications by the John Howard Society and the Moose Jaw Housing Authority.

Bourassa confirmed that all residents willingly accepted the moving arrangements. The swift, concerted effort of local organizations and authorities allowed the affected individuals to transition swiftly into more secure living conditions. As he summed up, “People are now in better circumstances than they were before.”

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.