Community helps those displaced by Saint John, N.B. fire

Click to play video: 'Community comes together to help residents displaced by Saint John fire'
Community comes together to help residents displaced by Saint John fire
The community of Saint John is coming together to help victims of a fire just days before Christmas. As Zack Power tells us, the tragic situation turned to triumph – and those who lost everything are expressing immense gratitude – Dec 30, 2022

The New Brunswick community of Saint John came together over the holidays to help those displaced by a fire.

The fire scorched an apartment building in Saint John, leaving more than a dozen residents stranded just two days before Christmas. Every resident came out of the fire alive, though not all of the pets in the building made it.

It would only take minutes for community groups and residents to offer up ways to help.

As families watched their homes burn, the Boys and Girls Club of Saint John arrived with toys to deliver to a young boy whose belongings were destroyed by the raging inferno.

Passersby and community members instantly tried to make his holiday bright; in one case, the Kennebecasis Valley Fire Department delivered truckloads of new, wrapped toys for children.

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One mother, Krystal Jesso, described the fire department on the scene with gratitude, as she described those dropping off toys and gifts for Christmas while first responders battled the blaze.

“The next day, the fire department came to my parents’ house and had the lights going,” Said Jesso.

“They showed up with so many gifts from the firehouse that they all wrapped. They gave him (her son Jax) a fire hat. It was awesome.”

Click to play video: 'Saint John resident describes fire that destroyed home'
Saint John resident describes fire that destroyed home

While toys and memories may have been torched, everyone came out alive, possibly thanks to a Good Samaritan who drove off shortly before anyone could recognize or thank him.

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When a parked car outside the apartment building started honking its horn profoundly, Jesso ran to the window. She then spotted the man on the phone with 911, with flames leaping outside of the building and screaming for residents to leave the building.

Some residents quickly moved in with friends and family following the fire, and with the help of the Red Cross, hotel rooms were booked for those who had nowhere to go.

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One couple, John and Robyn Moyse, moved into their new apartment Thursday evening; it was with help from the City of Saint John that they could find housing.

John told Global News that they’ve begun to pick up the pieces once again of their life, with nearly a complete loss to recoup. He described the community support and spoke of bedding, dressers and other furniture that helped in his path forward.

A necklace was purchased, one that wrote “Happy to be here,” which is an homage to Robyn’s father, who coined the phrase and came to support the couple as flames engulfed their apartment.

John got the necklace for his partner shortly after the fire. Zack Power / Global News

Others are still looking for ways to find refuge.

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Jeff Craig and his girlfriend continue to look for shelter while staying at a hotel in uptown Saint John. Craig and other displaced residents’ Red Cross support ended on Friday, and after that, they’re on their own.

Craig noted he’s grateful for the support he’s seen but indicated that if a solution can’t be found in the coming days, he will be left homeless in the city.

He said that he and others would continue to look for housing solutions in the city.

GoFundMe pages have been set up to support displaced people during that time.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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