Calgary veterans ‘pulling together for each other’ in wake of Beltline fire

Alpha House is asking the public for basic necessity donations

The veterans building, pictured Friday May 24, doesn't appear burned on the outside, but sustained water and smoke damage after a fire broke out Thursday morning. CHELSEY MUTTER / LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Tenants in a Calgary supportive housing complex left all their belongings behind when they were forced to flee their building because of a fire.

Now, said David Burke, manager of volunteer and special initiatives for Alpha House Calgary, the tenants need basic necessities.

The fire broke out early Thursday morning Alpha House Veterans Building, and fire crews were called to the apartment around 12:35 a.m. The organization, he said, is thankful for the donations they have received so far and their focus now is on providing displaced tenants with things like clothing, towels, and toilet paper.

The building doesn’t appear damaged from the outside, but the interior has water and smoke damage. The company just got into the building today and are hoping for minimal structural damage so tenants can quickly return to their homes, but, he said, they won’t know until they get official assessment.

“Veterans tend to develop their own unit of care for each other, probably from their experience, their training. So they’re pulling together for each other,” Burke said.

There were 11 residents in the 15-suite building and, Burke said, no one was taken to the hospital; they were checked out by paramedics and all 11 were displaced from their home. Burke said six of the veterans were relocated together to a different Alpha House centre and the other three were kept together in another Alpha House building.

Burke said veterans affected by the fire still have access to their support system and care providers. He said he wanted to call out the veterans support of each other and the unique support they’ve been able to give each other.

Basic necessities are needed, including toiletries and clothing. Contact david@alphahousecalgary.com if you’re able to help.  

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