Residents leave Winnipeg apartment with anything they can carry following city order to vacate block


Tenants at a Winnipeg apartment building that was ordered to close by 2 p.m. Monday because of fire safety issues have been making their way out, taking with them whatever they could carry.

Brandy Genaille said she's not sure what will happen next for her, as she walked out of her home of about a year pulling a pink suitcase behind her with one hand and holding her cat in a carrier with the other. 

"They're trying to put us up in the homeless shelters, and then there's already homeless people out there," she said, adding she wouldn't be allowed to bring her cat to a shelter. 

"I don't know what we're going to do, but we've got to try to find somewhere to go."

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service issued an order for the Adanac Apartments at 737 and 743 Sargent Ave. to be vacated by the Monday deadline following a failed fire safety inspection on Wednesday last week.

That order cited several fire code violations, including a fire alarm system that doesn't work, missing smoke alarms, inaccessible fire extinguishers and a blocked fire escape.

Residents said police and fire officials gave them two hours to collect their things on Monday, as a crew worked to board up the building and close up access to the fire escapes from the sidewalk.

Building still has 'unresolved deficiencies': city

Tenants hustled to try to get things up to code by the deadline, but the eviction is still happening, said Marion Willis, executive director of St. Boniface Street Links, an organization that has been working with people in the building.

Another inspection isn't scheduled until Wednesday, Willis said, lamenting what she called a "reactive" approach to issues that have largely been resolved since the inspection last week.

A city spokesperson said the building was re-inspected Monday morning and still had "a number of unresolved deficiencies" that the city is monitoring.

The building now has to remain unoccupied until the rest of the fire code violations have been corrected and the property has been approved to have people live in it again, the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The fire prevention branch has visited the building more than 100 times since 2019, largely for similar issues to the ones that led to the closure, the spokesperson said. Fire crews also responded to five fires in the building last year and another five so far this year.