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Fire ravages Regina apartment building on Centennial St.

Two injured and over 50 occupants displaced by fire at Regina apartment complex Sunday night; cause was improper disposal of smoking materials.

REGINA - A major fire displaced a number of occupants of an apartment building on the 200 block of Centennial Street in Regina on Sunday. 

Regina Fire report that crews responded to a fire at about 9 p.m. Sunday night, in a multi-family occupancy in an apartment complex on the east side of Regina. A 911 call had alerted the fire department to smoke coming from the property. 

At a news conference at Regina Fire headquarters, Deputy Fire Chief Gord Hewitt confirmed that about 55 occupants from 16 suites were displaced by the fire, while two occupants were injured escaping the fire. 

“Our crews did a really good job of getting in and eliminating the smoke, but based on the threat that night, it was deemed necessary to relocate people," Hewitt said.

The two people who were injured suffered what was described as significant but non-life-threatening, and non-burn-related, injuries. The injuries occured as the individuals escaped the fire from the second floor unit, with those individuals suffering cuts and broken bones.

Hewitt said they had four pumps, one ladder truck, and one command unit on the scene with 22 personnel on scene for the incident. There was also a medical response unit including two paramedics who treated the two injured individuals on the scene until EMS arrived.

Mobile Crisis was on the scene to assist the occupants from the other suites who were displaced through the night. 

Crews were on the scene for about three or four hours to put out the fire, and the investigation team has been on the scene the entire time. Hewitt also confirmed there was a reignition of the fire due to smouldering that occurred through the night from debris, and fire crews returned to respond to that.

Fire caused by improperly discarded cigarette butt

The investigation of the fire has since concluded. Hewitt told reporters the cause of the fire was determined to be improperly discarded smoking materials, in this case cigarettes. 

“It was a cigarette butt discarded into an improper container,” said Hewitt. “Often times people would discard a cigarette into a container that includes dirt and peat moss, and which actually doesn’t put out the cigarette. In fact, it can continue to burn for a couple of days in that.”

Hewitt gave an example of what a proper container should look like. It would include a metal container with sand and/or crushed gravel to eliminate any burning material from the cigarette.

In this case, Hewitt confirmed the improperly-disposed cigarette had smouldered, and the fire erupted and travelled up the siding of the building, ultimately engulfing the property. 

Two properties, a bottom and a top suite, have been deemed destroyed and are not inhabitable. It was Hewitt’s information that seven people who lived there are impacted. 

The smoke had travelled to the other 14 properties there as well, but Hewitt did note that most of those individuals in the other properties who were evacuated have been able to return.

No dollar estimate is being provided for damage on this property right now. But Hewitt said the city has noticed damage of $3.5 million annually due to improperly disposed of smoking materials.