UPDATE: Big Hearts Small City has advised that all recent fire victims they’ve been in contact with have found accommodations. They now ask that anyone with household items they can donate to contact them by phone at 506-871-8920 or look up Big Hearts Small City on Facebook.
A Fredericton fire that occurred this weekend is underscoring the need for tenant’s insurance, as the majority of the displaced people have no coverage.
The Fredericton Fire Department confirmed that the Sunday morning fire which claimed a Charlotte Street apartment building displaced 13 people, only four of whom had tenant insurance.
“Tenant insurance is very important,” said Gail Brownlee, a Canadian Red Cross Volunteer.
Helping victims in their time of need is the mandate of the Red Cross however beyond that, the uninsured are looking at a difficult situation.
“Many people think they don’t have a lot of belongings,” Brownlee said. “However if you have to replace it most of us wouldn’t be able to do that.”
Moncton’s Jason Surrette runs Big Hearts Small City, an organization that helps fire victims get back on their feet.
“I started Big Hearts Small City years ago when I found out there’s a gap in helping fire victims,” Surrette explained.
“I found out years ago that when there’s a fire there’s lots of ways for people to get donations and household items but essentially there was no organization to rapidly re-house someone after a fire.”
Since the beginning of this year he says they’ve helped at least 48 fire victims throughout Moncton, Fredericton and Miramichi.
“Don’t wait and say ‘I might not need this [tenant] insurance, it might not happen to me,’” Surrette said.
“If you’re renting and you’re paying rent make sure you call any insurance broker in the Atlantic region and talk to them about tenant insurance.”
The New Brunswick Fire Marshal’s office said statistics including the most recent incidents aren’t yet available, however the number of fires is within their expectations.
However they say the number of fires being investigated is above normal.