PEI

Residents may not be able to return to Le Chez-Nous for weeks, official says

Residents of the western P.E.I. community care home Le Chez-Nous, displaced by a fire, will be able to continue to stay at the Mill River Resort at least into next week.

Fire forced residents from Le Chez-Nous Monday night

The staff of Le Chez-Nous moved operations into Mill River Resort in the early morning hours Tuesday. (Julien Lecacheur/Radio-Canada)

Residents of the western P.E.I. community care home Le Chez-Nous, displaced by a fire, will be able to continue to stay at the Mill River Resort at least into next week.

The fire hit the Wellington community care home Monday night. There were no serious injuries, but the 47 residents were left homeless.

After finding immediate shelter at the local legion, the residents were moved to the Mill River Resort, which is about a half-hour drive to the north. While there was room for them all in the middle of the week, it looked like weekend bookings would force some of the residents out. The co-op that runs Le Chez-Nous was canvassing families to see if they had space to take some of the residents for a few days.

But in an email to CBC News Thursday morning, Mill River Resort manager Geoffrey Irving said they have had some cancellations, and they now have space for everyone, at least into next week.

Le Chez-Nous co-op president Marcel Richard said Wednesday management at the resort has been extremely helpful. He was told they are putting a rush on renovations to a wing that is currently not occupied, and they hope to be able to move Le Chez-Nous residents into that wing quickly so they can have a space of their own.

There is not yet any indication when residents may be able to move back into Le Chez-Nous, but Richard said it could be months. The fire marshal continues to investigate the cause, and until the investigation is complete, cleanup can't begin. 

Richard said the current plan is to stay at the resort for at least the next three weeks. 

"I just know it'll be for sure weeks, it could be months," he said. "Once the investigation is over and we get the go-ahead to bring in crews, we're going to move, we're going to move fast." 

He said they called in someone from P.E.I.'s Department of Health and Wellness Wednesday to talk to the seniors, some of whom were stressed and worried after the fire and the move.

"We were starting to see that maybe there was some things that they were keeping inside and we just didn't want them to be more scared than they were," Richard said. The seniors were broken into small groups for therapeutic chats, he said.

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the home's seniors should get their COVID-19 vaccines next week. They were originally supposed to get them this past Tuesday, the morning after the fire. 

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker and Jessica Doria-Brown

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