Low Income Neighborhood Burns, Dozens Dislocated



Tonight one of the city's oldest low income neighborhoods has been flattened by fire, and, likely, dozens are left homeless. The fire started in Pink's Alley - between Queen And North Front Streets - at around 4:30. It burned one of the apartment buildings which is home to many families. The fire was brought under control at around 5:30.
Tonight we can confirm that very fortunately no one was hurt in this area which is home to many families with children. But residents are vary raw and angry. They say that the Fire Department did a very poor job and weren't ready with water or equipment. Our team is just back after speaking with the area representative and a prominent member of that neighborhood. Here's the interview with Leroy Grandmaster Young - who's one of the neighborhood;'s oldest resident:

Leroy "Grandmaster" Young
"I was born and raised in this neighborhood and it's a sad situation. It's the third time this neighborhood burnt down and the thing that upset me is that when I got the news I was at work at the Chinese restaurant. By the time I reach there, 1 fire pump was there. I always watch news and I heard people complaining about the fire engine comes without water and this and that and I watch the first fire pump come and they took like 10 minutes to hook up the hose and when the water really started to run - it's about 3 minutes later and slowly. The houses are up in flames and they are running about confused."

"It hurts me, this is all I got her on me and the whole life story, the whole history of grandmaster went up material wise. These apartments went through 3 fire burn already."

"When I use to be a rapper, I had a song that I made about the first fire burn "Fire de inna our area." then the second time and now this is the third time. In other words I am saying these stuff need to be broken down, taken down and start build a house for each family. Nothing fancy - a nice little cement bungalow house and the family house that I lost, my father went through blood, sweat and tears to build that house to have it where it is today."

We also spoke with long time area representative Said Musa who's been working in the area since the 70's. He put the fire in context for us and told us about the temporary housing for residents::

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Area Rep. - Fort George
"What we are doing as an immediate emergency measure temporary is to find accommodations for these people tonight. Most of them lost everything, so we have to get some materials for them, mattresses and different things and also we are finding accommodation for them temporarily until we can sort things out properly, because that whole block of the apartment building is complete destroyed as can see and several houses behind it too."

"I am certainly hoping that we can redevelop the area and I will appeal to the government to come and assist us as well, because as the area representative I have to lean on the government this time, because this is a major disaster and we will need to do a major reconstruction of the area - of all the apartment buildings quite honestly - houses at the back too."

Alex Courtenay, 7News
"As you said reconstruction will be necessary, but is there may be more of an idea to get some planning done, because we know that the fire spread very quickly from the apartments top different houses around here. Will there be more of an effort to ensure that that kind of thing doesn't happen again and fires can be contain much easier?"

Rt. Hon. Said Musa, Area Rep. - Fort George
"Yes, you know how these things are. A lot of planning has to go into it to ensure that... I am told that this fire started in a kind of deliberate kind of way - negligence basically. I can't say deliberate, I have to say negligence and this kind of thing you can never prepare for except to educate people about it - you can't play with fire - serious business."

It is still very much a developing story tonight as so many families are homeless. We'll have an update before the end of the news.