Benefit set for Penhold residents affected by fire

  • Apr. 16, 2014 3:16 p.m.

DEVASTATION – Relief efforts continue following a massive apartment fire in Penhold last week.

A fundraiser is set to be held in support of the Penhold residents who lived in an apartment building that was destroyed by fire last week.

The fundraiser will take place in the parking lot at the Penholder Tavern on April 21. The activities will take place from 2 p.m.- 6 p.m. followed by live music and events inside The Penholder from 8-10 p.m.

A massive fire broke out at an apartment building at 40 Esther Cl. in Penhold on April 10 at about 4:30 p.m.

Fire investigators from Penhold, the Alberta Fire Commissioner’s Office, Innisfail RCMP, and the insurance company determined that the fire was not suspicious and likely started in a BBQ type device on a second floor balcony.

Twenty-six volunteer firefighters from Penhold remained on scene for 48 continuous hours. During the first five hours crews from Red Deer County and Innisfail assisted the Penhold Fire crews and were called back to the scene with water tenders to assist last Friday when water levels became critically low.

“We are confident that we have found the area of origin and the cause and will be spending the next few days doing some follow up and completing the mounds of paperwork,” said Penhold Fire Chief Jim Pendergast.

He added there was a large cost to the fire department in consumables plus a large amount of equipment was destroyed as well (some hose was burned or destroyed by vehicles, other equipment damaged).

“The fire engines worked without a hitch pumping the whole time, and the firefighters’ training showed as they were wearing breathing apparatuses with no problems or injuries and only some minor equipment failures that were repaired or replaced on scene.

“I am so proud of how professional and dedicated the firefighters were.”

Pendergast added there is still a lot of cleanup to do and replacement equipment will have to be acquired which will take until later this week but the fire department is able and ready to go if called to another emergency.

Meanwhile, The Canadian Red Cross continues to register and assess the needs of residents affected by the fire.

Volunteers with the Canadian Red Cross Emergency Response Team have registered and conducted needs assessments for dozens of evacuated residents so far.

After the fire broke out, seven Red Cross volunteers were called to support the Town of Penhold on scene with reception and registration services for evacuated residents. The Canadian Red Cross will continue to work in partnership with the Town of Penhold and the Salvation Army to ensure those impacted have their basic needs met.

The average cost of a response in which a family of four is assisted is $2,000.

All Canadian Red Cross support is provided at no charge to those in need. To donate to this locally funded program please visit your local Red Cross office, call 1-800-418-1111 or go online to www.redcross.ca.

As well, for more information regarding the fundraiser, check out ‘Penhold Relief Fundraiser’ on facebook.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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