Alberta Politics
What was left of the south wing of St. Albert’s Citadel Mews as unionized firefighters worked to knock down the massive fire there last night (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Your humble scribe planned to take a night off from blogging – then this happened blocks from his house

Posted on May 07, 2021, 2:25 am
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Unionized public employees from all over Alberta’s Capital Region raced to the neighbouring city of St. Albert last night, willing to put themselves in harm’s way to save lives and livelihoods. 

Front-line essential workers from all three fire stations operated by the St. Albert fire department, which has been criticized by some local conservative politicians and voters for having too many chiefs, as well as crews from five Edmonton stations, and the neighbouring municipalities of Strathcona County, Morinville and Spruce Grove were all on the scene soon after a large seniors’ residence on the city’s north side erupted in flames just after suppertime yesterday. 

Early media reports from the scene indicated that all the seniors in the building were successfully evacuated, although members of the firefighters’ unions were searching the damaged structure.

Alberta Health Services said three people were taken to hospital. 

The building is adjacent to St. Albert’s Sturgeon Community Hospital, where other unionized public employees were risking their lives on the front lines of a different fight: dealing with the wild spread of COVID-19 that continues in Alberta.

Both groups of front-line heroes are paid with tax revenues, ensuing their essential services are available to all.

Here endeth the lesson.

11 Comments to: Your humble scribe planned to take a night off from blogging – then this happened blocks from his house

  1. Abs

    May 7th, 2021

    Thank you to everyone who got the residents out of harm’s way. I hope everyone who was injured recovers. The trauma of this event will add to the burden that these seniors have experienced over the last fourteen months.

    I hope the premier does not see this as another opportunity for callous and highly-inappropriate comments about comorbidities, or seniors being past their expiry dates. I hope that he will also make an effort to assist these people to find new accommodations. They will need help. It’s sad that we need to say such obvious things, but in Alberta, we do.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    May 7th, 2021

    Emergency responders and health care workers help to save lives. They have very difficult jobs. Those who balk at socialism, should also realize that emergency responders are a facet of socialism. When the UCP wants to have a provincial police force, to axe the R.C.M.P (when the head honcho of the UCP is under investigation by the R.C.M.P for election related shenanigans, he wants it gone), and wants to have private for profit healthcare in Alberta, like their idol, Ralph Klein, this will make things worse.

    Reply
  3. Paul

    May 7th, 2021

    If anyone needs yet another anecdote to prove the superiority of public vs. private social services, consider my recent experience with Ichor Blood Services. I booked with them online for a Covid-19 antibody test and then had to cancel. Their cancellation policy stipulates that you have to cancel within 24 hours to avoid a cancellation fee, which is reasonable enough on the surface. HOWEVER, it turns out that they don’t provide the easy option of cancelling online; instead, they ask that you contact them. Well, I tried to contact them for an entire day before my scheduled appointment (a weekday, by the way) without success. At first, I couldn’t even leave a message because their inbox was full. Later, when I was able to leave a message, the automated system informed me that the company would return my call within 2 business days. The next morning, I received a text reminding me of my imminent appointment. It remains to be seen whether I will find a cancellation charge on my credit card, which I had to give them before I could book, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Seems to be their business model. I found a Calgary Herald article about them online that’s worth reading (see link below). I especially love the spin about the company pivoting to Covid testing to “help”. Couldn’t be because Covid testing is profitable. The company has only been in business for a year, but they’re already spreading (very thinly) across Canada. Buyer beware…

    https://calgaryherald.com/business/commercial-real-estate/private-lab-services-firm-pivots-to-help-with-covid testing#:~:text=Ichor%20Blood%20Services%20was%20launched%20in%20Calgary%20only,to%20private%20COVID%20testing%20after%20the%20pandemic%20hit.

    Reply
    • anon`

      May 7th, 2021

      Can you have your credit card company stop the payment? Make them take you to small claims court. Keep a log of how many times you tried to phone them as per instructed to show the Court. If you win, take them to small claims court for lost wages and time spent.

      Reply
      • Paul

        May 8th, 2021

        I’ll definitely try that if necessary. Thanks for the suggestion.

        Reply
      • Paul

        May 10th, 2021

        In Ichor Blood Services’ defence, I just received confirmation from them that they will not be charging me a cancellation fee.

        Reply
  4. Ray White

    May 7th, 2021

    United Steelworkers Local 1-207 represents the workers at Citadel Care Centre, our members along with management staff and first responders safely evacuated 129 residents in under 45 minutes. This is a huge undertaking and the evacuation itself could potentially injure residents of the home but miraculously all got out safe. These heroes should be commended for their bravery and selflessness during this emergency. Your article is bang on, thank you for pointing out what might not be obvious to some.

    Ray White

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      May 7th, 2021

      Ray: My apologies for missing this point, which should have been obvious to me last night. In my role as a neighbour, I didn’t realize this was a union worksite till I went to work this morning and one of my co-workers emailed to remind us Citadel Care Centre is a Steelworkers site, and Local 1-207 no less. I’m proud (prouder tonight) to be a member of Local 1-207 myself. DJC

      Reply
  5. Just Me

    May 7th, 2021

    I recall, many years ago, when Premier Crying & Angry Midget was but a mere sapling of a crazoid right-wing virginal pious meathead, was the director of the CTF. During one of his many couldn’t-shutup-even-if-you-put-a-gun-to-his-head media events, Kenney was going on and on about the needless expense of funding “unnecessary” public services. One of these public services, in Kenney’s fevered mind, was the aptly named “Jaws of Life”, that powerful mechanical device that tears open crashed cars, allowing the occupants to escape. A great piece of equipment that firefighters often use to deal with heavy and tough impediments quickly.

    Of course, Kenney, being the self-proclaimed smartest virgin ever, denounced the excessive use of such equipment because of firefighters’ poor situational judgment. But if the equipment must be used, then the victim of the said car accident should pay for the service. Turns out, given the cost of the Jaws and the expertise required to use it, an estimate revealed that the cost of the service would be about $6,000 a pop. The media jumped on this one and returned to ask Kenney if people who need firefighters’ specialized services of should pay for them out of their own pockets? Kenney, sputtering and baffled said “Absolutely not; this is about life and death…”

    It seems Kenney remains the smartest virgin ever and is still confused about those life and death decisions. Reveals too much already.

    Reply
  6. Just Me

    May 7th, 2021

    I recall, many years ago, when Premier Crying & Angry Midget was but a mere sapling of a crazoid right-wing virginal pious meathead and director of the CTF. During one of his many couldn’t-shutup-even-if-you-put-a-gun-to-his-head media events, Kenney was going on and on about the needless expense of funding “unnecessary” public services. One of these public services, in Kenney’s fevered mind, was the aptly named “Jaws of Life”, that powerful mechanical device that tears open crashed cars, allowing the occupants to escape. A great piece of equipment that firefighters often use to deal with heavy and tough impediments quickly.

    Of course, Kenney, being the self-proclaimed smartest virgin ever, denounced the excessive use of such equipment because of firefighters’ poor situational judgment. But if the equipment must be used, then the victim of the said car accident should pay for the service. Turns out, given the cost of the Jaws and the expertise required to use it, an estimate revealed that the cost of the service would be about $6,000 a pop. The media jumped on this one and returned to ask Kenney if people who need firefighters’ specialized services of should pay for them out of their own pockets? Kenney, sputtering and baffled said “Absolutely not; this is about life and death…”

    It seems Kenney remains the smartest virgin ever and is still confused about those life and death decisions. Reveals too much already.

    Reply
  7. GMG

    May 7th, 2021

    Thanks to the emergency services workers for helping the seniors stay safe in what would have been a terrifying ordeal for them. Yet there is more to come. The residents will find in the days and months to come that most of the important things they had cannot be replaced. They will discover that the pictures of their children and grandchildren and the cards and ornaments hand made in elementary school no longer exist. The warm fuzzy housecoat they received years ago as a gift from a now-dead husband or sister is nothing but ash.

    While no cause of this fire has been announced, I read on one news site that it started in a single unit. When this happens, the fire is often attributed to smoking materials being improperly disposed of, or cooking left unattended. These mistakes are human, and can happen to anyone. It could explain a fire in one unit. It doesn’t explain why 100 people had to be evacuated.

    This is not the first time in recent months that a fire in one unit spread rapidly throughout a building. When will it be time to discuss what materials are used to construct multi-unit buildings?

    Reply

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