Merritt residents affected by fire granted 14-day hotel extension

By Chad Klassen
March 20, 2017 - 6:00pm

MERRITT, B.C. — Monday spelled huge relief for many Merritt residents impacted by an apartment fire that destroyed everything and left about 60 people homeless. 

It was announced that residents of the burnt down Kengard Manor will be granted a 14-extension to their hotel stays by the province. 

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

"Just amazing," said resident Margo Telmer. "We came here not knowing what we're going to get. It was just amazing 

Telmer and her husband are staying at the Adelphi Hotel downtown, where she works. She's been most impressed by the community support they've received since the fire. 

"We were given a voucher for $50 for miscellaneous, one for $150 per person for clothes because we all got out with nothing. Food vouchers. It's just overwhelming."

The mayor of Merritt Neil Menard says the community is resilient and comes together in crisis. 

"All kinds of phone call coming in, what they can do, where do they have to go, where can make donations, so the city is here 100%," said Menard. 

Debbie Walter, who spoke with CFJC Today on Friday, a day after the fire, is a lot more optimistic than she was then. She's found a place to rent for May, and also receiving three suitcases worth of clothing.

Walter is also relieved with two more weeks of hotel stays. 

"That gives me time," said Walter. "Maybe 

A select few other residents have also found a place. They are among the lucky with an extremely limited rental market in Merritt. 

Meantime, at the Kengard Manor, restoration companies remain on scene of the apartment building, cleaning up some of the mess, while engineers access the integrity of the structure. 

For Telmer, she's just thankful for the 14-day extension, giving her a litle bit of breathing room before she and her husband have to find a permanent place to stay.

More than anything, she's thankful everyone is safe. 

"We have to be thankful because, if this would've happened in the middle of the night, it would've been devastation. A lot of people who've lost their lives. It happened in the day time where everyone was around and alert, and everyone got out."

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