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Assistance offered for Charlottetown residents forced from apartment complex after July 17 blaze

Firefighters respond to a flare-up Thursday morning, fewer than 24 hours after a fire ravaged a Harley Street apartment complex in Charlottetown.
Firefighters respond to a flare-up Thursday morning, fewer than 24 hours after a fire ravaged a Harley Street apartment complex in Charlottetown. - Alison Jenkins
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Firefighters from Charlottetown Station 1 were at Harley Street again Thursday morning, back at the scene of a devastating apartment fire.

A security guard thought he saw smoke at the roofline around 7:30 a.m. 

The Charlottetown Fire Department ladder truck sent a heavy stream of water onto the suspected hot spot until they were sure there was no risk of flame.

Flare-ups are common after a large structure fire with a roof collapse, said Deputy Fire Chief Tim Mamye about the fire that broke out early Wednesday morning. Luckily, Thursday’s sighting didn’t turn into anything serious, he said.

The property was turned over to the building owners Wednesday evening and by Thursday there was a perimeter fence protecting the damaged property. Private security staff monitored the site to make sure no one entered the unsafe structure.

The fire that displaced 52 Charlottetown residents would have had a different outcome if there had been sprinklers installed in the apartments, but there weren’t.

Sprinklers were not required according to the National Building Code, said Mamye. 

“I’d love to see them everywhere,” said the deputy chief, as they have the potential to prevent the fire’s spread in the early stages.  

By late Wednesday night, disaster volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross had arranged emergency lodging at Charlottetown-area hotels for 16 tenants. They – along with eight others – were also helped with emergency purchases ranging from clothing to replacement medications and other essentials.  

All the other tenants made their own arrangements, such as staying with relatives or friends, for now.  

BENEFIT CONCERT

Two Island entertainers are already planning a benefit to help the residents of the building. 

Tim Archer and his partner, Rickey Lee, own and manage the Music at the Manse venue in Marshfield. Several of their friends have family affected by the fire.

Archer and Lee will hold an outdoor benefit concert on Aug. 11 at their venue. Archer has an outdoor stage and lights arranged, since the indoor venue holds just 45 people. 

“We started immediately, as soon as we heard,” said Archer. “It’s unreal the amount of support from the music community.”

Admission will be by donation and there will be a silent auction. Archer and Lee are also collaborating with the Red Cross to make sure the people receive the items they need. 

But Archer knows it’s not just about material items. As he gets older, he has held on to only the most meaningful souvenirs and relates to the seniors in the apartments who had probably done the same.

“I know this (benefit) is just a small contribution, but you have to start somewhere,” he said. “This is really going to cheer them up, I think.”

Anyone wanting to volunteer their talents to the event can contact Tim Archer at 902-213-2861 or through the Music at the Manse Facebook page: facebook.com/archerPEI.

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