More than 150 people are being evacuated, including three children, with the help of the fire department and health officials. The Saskatoon Fire Department says they are being relocated to safe, healthy accommodations.
“The law gives property owners and landlords many chances to do what’s right to ensure people have safe, healthy places to live,” said Saskatoon Fire Chief Morgan Hackl in a statement.
“However, this property has had a lengthy history with our department. Following repeated inspections, orders to remedy issues, and tickets, the conditions have degraded to such a deplorable state the Fire Department can no longer allow people to live there.”
The motel, located at 610 Idylwyld Drive N. was closed following a recent visit from four fire inspectors.
Hackl says immediate hazards and issues included unsafe and unsanitary conditions, locked exit doors, stairs at risk of collapsing, combustible material too close to the building, inaccessible fire extinguishers, too few and uninspected extinguishers, improper smoke alarm records and failure to maintain fire alarm systems.
According to officials, the owner of City Centre Inn and Suites is in violation of 34 infractions under the Property Maintenance and Nuisance Abatement Bylaw, and 27 infractions under the National Fire Code of Canada.
Global News reached out to City Centre Inn and Suites for comment. Owner John Pontes said he could neither “confirm nor deny” the claims made by the Saskatoon Fire Department.
On Wednesday, the fire department went door-to-door informing residents of the closure. Housing will be available to residents based on their health-care or personal needs.
Residents will be housed in a combination of hotels, shelters or housing units in the short-term, with the goal to place them in long-term housing.
The fire department is working with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Saskatoon Tribal Council, Saskatoon Housing Initiative Partnership and AIDS Saskatoon to help with the evacuation.
Additionally, a private security firm has been hired to provide fire watch duty, should there be a need to call firefighters for an emergency, says Saskatoon Fire.
“We adopted a community approach to this issue, to make sure that taking action on a serious problem was going to have the least impact as possible on every resident involved,” Chief Hackl said. “Our focus, as always, is about community safety.”