Fire sparked Whitehorse motel over weekend
No injuries reported at Stratford Motel fire, but dozens homeless
The Whitehorse Fire Department is investigating a fire which happened in the boiler room of the Stratford Motel over the weekend.
Tenants were evacuated Saturday evening after the fire broke out, and now almost 2 dozen who called the motel home are homeless.
Clive Sparks, the city's fire chief, says crews were called just after 6 p.m. local time.
"There was a fire in the basement and it spread up through the two floors above but was limited to basically the suites right above where the fire started, so there were about eight suites damaged from the fire," said Sparks.
There were no injuries in the blaze and the fire department is continuing its probe into the cause of the fire.
The fire has had political ramifications in Whitehorse. With the city's affordable housing shortage, the fire has become fodder for the opposition party in the legislature.
"We're talking about seniors, senior couples, people with health concerns, people on pensions and social assistance. There's probably over 20 permanent residents living at the Stratford and as of Saturday night, do not have a place to live," said Jan Stick, an NDP member of the legislative assembly for Riverdale South.
Stick is not sure how many people have been able to find temporary accommodation. She says the issue speaks to a much larger problem.
Not only do many of the tenants affected at the Stratford Motel have no other place to go, they're also impacted by government red tape.
"A lot of these individuals are on wait lists with Yukon Housing [Corporation], but have been for years and are considered to be adequately housed and don't seem to move on the list anywhere," said Stick.
A housing corporation spokesperson says those people were considered adequately housed before the blaze.
The owners of the Stratford motel declined CBC News’ request for an interview.
Meanwhile, preliminary findings in the fire investigation reveal the boiler in question did not look like it had been serviced for some time.
The Whitehorse fire department estimates the damage is between $200,000 and $300,000. There is no word on how long it will take to repair the damage, or when the people who live in the motel can return to their homes.