Polaris Apartments fire: tenants briefly kicked out of hotel rooms
Tenants displaced by fire told they had to check out, landlord Northern Property later extends stay
Tenants left homeless by the Polaris Apartments fire Sunday say they were briefly kicked out of their temporary hotel rooms at the Yellowknife Inn on Tuesday.
The 17-suite apartment building was evacuated around 1 a.m. Sunday. Since then, tenants have been staying at different hotels with their rooms paid for by landlord Northern Property. Most are staying at the Yellowknife Inn.
They say early Tuesday morning, staff at the hotel informed them that they had to check out of their rooms.
Several tenants told CBC News they were confused and angry. They say they were stranded in the hotel lobby without a room and couldn't get in touch with Northern Property.
Late in the afternoon, Northern Property contacted the hotel and the tenants' stay was extended until Friday.
Julie Thrasher, who is spearheading a donation drive, said she caught the tail end of a meeting Tuesday afternoon between tenants and their landlord.
She said it was highly emotional and that tenants were yelling and crying. Some even left mid-meeting in frustration.
"People need . . . to know that they are going to be OK tonight, and when they wake up tomorrow, they need to know they're going to be OK. That they're going to be fed. That they're going to have a place to stay."
Thrasher says people are donating cash, clothing, furniture and more, but the need now is for food gift cards.
Tenants don't have kitchens in their hotel rooms, and Thrasher says the gift cards will help them buy more prepared meals, which are more expensive.
N.W.T. Fire Marshal Chucker Dewar said Tuesday that tenants won't be allowed back into their apartments to collect any of their belongings, at least not in the building's current state.
Northern Property has not returned calls for comment.