Some of the victims of Monday’s devastating condo fire that caused $10 million in damage say they aren’t receiving enough emotional support.
While many agencies have been at the scene of the fire at the South Hampton’s condo complex, offering help to the hundreds forced out of their homes, many feel more should have been done.
Ripple Takhar was expecting grief counsellors to be on hand when she returned to see her damaged suite. Residents were allowed to return to their suites on Thursday to see if they could recover any belongings.
“People need counselling,” Takhar said. “People are under trauma. It’s a life threatening and life changing situation for people who have lost everything.”
Monika St. Jean, another condo resident, said she is finding it difficult to cope with the event.
“You don’t sleep well because you still have anxiety over the fire,” she said. “So you’re not sleeping well, which means you’re tired.”
Kimberly Knull, a psychologist who helps people in crisis, says fires like the one can create the same stress and emotional upheaval as the most serious tragedies. She said some people can even equate it to a death.
“What happens is we’re less able to cope, especially if you haven’t eaten a meal in a day or two, haven’t slept very many hours,” Knull said. “That’s really going to affect how your brain works and how you process this trauma.”
The City of Edmonton and Red Cross both sent emergency teams to the scene. The Red Cross found hotel rooms for about 150 victims of the fire and will follow up with everyone it made contact with. There is also support available through the city and Alberta Health Services.