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Donations fill Bankview Community Centre to help residents displaced by Calgary condo fire

Click to play video 'Donations fill Bankview Community Centre on Boxing Day for displaced Calgary condo fire victims' Donations fill Bankview Community Centre on Boxing Day for displaced Calgary condo fire victims
WATCH: Donations filled the tables at Bankview Community Centre on Boxing Day for the victims left homeless in last week’s condo fire. Silvana Benolich reports – Dec 26, 2019

Donations continue to pour in to assist around 100 people left temporarily homeless after a fire partially destroyed a five-storey condominium building in southwest Calgary on Dec. 20.

Hundreds of items were arranged on tables inside the Bankview Community Centre on Boxing Day to help former residents of the Valhalla View condo..

Clothing, shoes, towels, canned food, toiletries, diapers and stuffed toys were neatly organized — an effort that came together in about 48 hours.

READ MORE: Fire breaks out at southwest Calgary condo building

“On Christmas Eve I got a crew of volunteers together,” said organizer Julie Young.

“There was seven of us and we just started unloading bags and sorting it out.”

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Many who live in the 56-unit building where the fire broke out had to leave everything behind.

“Even just coming here and getting our basic needs — like a toothbrush, a can of soup or even a sweater — really really does help,” said Sina Shannon, one of the building’s displaced residents.

“We basically left with the clothes on our backs and that’s all we have.”

Many of the victims have been helping other victims. One man reportedly donated a $200 gas gift card to another resident whose car was destroyed in the fire, to help him cover the cost of fuel for his rental vehicle.

Click to play video 'Fire crews battle blaze at multi-story building in southwest Calgary' Fire crews battle blaze at multi-story building in southwest Calgary
Fire crews battle blaze at multi-story building in southwest Calgary – Dec 20, 2019

Others like Trent Brown, who only bought his Valhalla View condo less than three months ago and lost everything in the fire, donated their time — volunteering to sort the donations at Bankview Community Centre on Christmas Day.

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“I wanted to make sure other people felt support…and knew there were people that cared about them,” Brown said.

Since the fire, many businesses have offered items and services.

A Facebook page where people can connect and offer services has been set up, as well as a GoFundMepage.

READ MORE: Calgarians support Bankview residents displaced by condo fire

The cause of the fire is still unknown. An investigator at the scene on Tuesday stated that, based on what he’d seen of the damage, it would not be unrealistic for residents to be out for a year or longer.

“There’s extreme damage, particularly [to] floors four and five,” Calgary Fire Department investigator Travis Thiessen said.
“[It’s] virtually a total loss up there.”

The Bankview Community Centre will remain open on Dec. 27 and 28, from noon until 2 p.m., for residents to come and pick up any donated items they may need.