Most Manitoba care homes with no sprinklers are in rural areas
The majority of personal care homes in Manitoba that are not protected by fire sprinkler systems are in rural communities.
Of the 39 care homes in the province that have no sprinkler coverage, 35 of them are outside urban areas, according to an updated provincial government list obtained by CBC News late Thursday afternoon.
The list names 125 personal care homes, including non-profit and for-profit facilities, and indicates what — if any — sprinkler coverage each one has.
Facilities without sprinkler coverage are in communities from Arborg to Whitemouth and located across the province.
Jacquie Bjornson, whose 79-year-old uncle lives at the Arborg & District Health Centre Personal Care Home, says she's shocked to learn the facility has no sprinklers.
"I don't know how they'd get all those people out of there if there happened to be a fire. The majority of them are in wheelchairs," she said.
In Winnipeg, Fred Douglas Lodge and West Park Manor do not have sprinkler systems. A for-profit care facility in nearby St. Norbert also has no sprinklers in place, and a private care home in Brandon has no coverage.
According to the province's list, 62 personal care homes have full sprinkler systems installed and 24 have partial coverage.
The province noted that full sprinkler systems will be installed in personal care homes in Flin Flon and Swan River later this year.
Fatal Quebec fire raises concerns
Concerns about sprinkler systems in personal care homes have been renewed by last week's deadly fire at a Quebec retirement home.
The blaze ripped through the seniors residence in the small Quebec community of L’Isle-Verte on Jan. 23, killing at least 17 people with about 15 more still missing.
The three-storey seniors home reportedly had a partial sprinkler system. However, a company that did work on the home has said sprinklers were installed in a new annex but not the portion, built in 1997, that was destroyed in the fire.
Since 1998, Manitoba's building code has required all newly built or extensively renovated personal care homes to have full sprinkler systems installed.
However, the provincial government does not require older facilities to be retrofitted to meet the same standards — even though six other provinces do have such requirements.
"Why wouldn't they put a sprinkler system in, if all the other provinces are putting it in?" Bjornson said.
Sprinkler coverage in personal care homes in Manitoba
Update: At 5 p.m. Thursday, the provincial government provided CBC News with a revised list of personal care homes. The original list, sent Tuesday, had some inaccuracies in the information.
The original list indicated that 37 personal care homes had no sprinkler systems installed. The updated list names 39 facilities with no coverage.
You can see the full list of care homes and what, if any, fire sprinkler coverage they have.