No one will be allowed to occupy the Sunrise Apartments

Sunrise tenants finding new homes

RCMP still looking into cause of fire at downtown building.

Only a handful of people remain homeless after an explosion and fire at Sunrise Apartments.

Matthew Colling, with the B.C. Lower Mainland Red Cross, which is coordinating the resettlement of those who lost their homes in the fire on March 21, said only eight cases remain outstanding, with some of those to be placed soon.

That leaves two or three families still needing homes, but it’s expected they’ll find a place within the next 10 days.

“In the very near future, people will be able to find alternative housing,” Colling said.

Families had been staying at the Quality Inn, where the Red Cross had been coordinating its efforts with the City of Maple Ridge’s emergency social services.

Patrick Cullen, with emergency social services, said a total of 106 people registered at the youth centre in the days after the fire.

“Things are going pretty well.”

All residents from the 53-unit building, on 122nd Avenue in downtown Maple Ridge, were evacuated, either because of fire damage or safety hazards and no one can reoccupy the building until extensive renovations take place.

“It will be months and months before anybody’s living in that building again.”

Colling said the Red Cross picks up the hotel bills for families after the period covered by emergency social services expires. But people are usually eager to find another home of their own.

“It always amazes me how resourceful people can be even after they have gone through such a difficult circumstance. No one wants to stay in a hotel for an extended period of time.”

He reminded people that renter’s insurance is important to have, although it can be expensive for some.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are still investigating the cause of the fire and possible criminal charges may be laid, said civilian media spokesman Dan Herbranson. However, it’s not an arson investigation, he added.


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