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Christmas Eve Group Home Fire Kills Handicapped Man

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The scene of Monday’s fatal house fire was quiet on Wednesday, with the house surrounded by temporary fencing and warnings from investigators not to trespass. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

A fatal fire Christmas Eve in a west Edmonton group home for people with disabilities is a “horrific incident that has tragically impacted the lives of many people,” an official with the agency that runs the home said Wednesday.

Brian Malkinson


Fire rescue spokesperson Maya Filipovic said investigators have ruled the case accidental but they may never figure out the exact cause.

“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with everyone who has been impacted,” Danica Frazer, executive director of McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association, Edmonton and North Region, said in a statement to CBC News.

“Since the fire occurred, I and several other members of the management team at McMan have been responding to the crisis,” Frazer said.

“Our focus has been on ensuring timely communication and support to guardians and family members, fulfilling our contractual reporting requirements and providing support to other individuals and staff members.”

Three men and one woman were sent to hospital after a fire tore through the group home around 2 a.m. Monday. The home is located at 166th Street and 90th Avenue in the West Meadowlark neighbourhood.

One person later died. The four patients initially transported to hospital were a man in his 40s in critical, life-threatening condition; a man of an unknown age in critical, life-threatening condition; a man in his 30s in serious condition; and a woman in her 30s in serious condition.

Neighbours said three men with mental and physical disabilities lived in the home. They said workers rotated through the home.

This warning sign has been posted to a temporary fence surrounding the home engulfed by fire early Monday. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

The fire remains under investigation.

The Alberta government said Monday it will review McMan and its policies, including looking at staffing ratios, training and safety procedures.

“In the days and weeks ahead McMan will work closely with all relevant authorities in determining and understanding all of the factors related to the fire,” Frazer said in her statement to CBC.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
COMMENT
 

Fire rescue spokesperson Maya Filipovic said investigators have ruled the case “accidental but they may never figure out the exact cause”.

A similar fire, also caused a vulnerable person to be burned to death in the basement of a Capilano Group home. April 2007.

During that fire, three firefighters were in the basement when the fire created a flashover.
It was reported that gases inside the home reached 1,100 C and ignited, melting parts of their helmets and radios and charring their visors..
It’s was very, very hot, very dark, thick smoke and flashes.

The firefighters had to thread the hose back out of the basement and crawl out to safety. All three were sent home uninjured but severely shaken.

During a Fatality inquiry September 2009, it was learned that the group home did not have a licence and hadn’t been inspected by the fire department.

In regard to this most recent deadly group home fire, we believe a more accurate response is needed than that, that fire rescue spokesperson Filipovic has provided to us.