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Evacuated Moose Jaw apartment was home to more than 40 people

An apartment building in Moose Jaw that was evacuated earlier this week after the discovery of several dangerous living conditions was home to more than 40 people.

Moose Jaw’s Chief of Police Rick Bourassa said that during the evacuation on Tuesday, there was complete compliance from the tenants who are now staying in hotels or homes of family and friends.

“They didn’t need to be living in these conditions. There were better conditions and the housing agencies did stand up and provided those better conditions,” he said.

A mandatory evacuation order was put into place after the City of Moose Jaw, along with the city’s fire and police departments discovered various fire code violations as well as building infractions, electrical issues and a gas leak.

Inspectors also found windows that could not be opened, deteriorating flooring on fire escapes, suites that did not have doors or locks and an accumulation of combustibles, some of which were said to be blocking emergency exits.

An apartment building in downtown Moose Jaw was under an emergency evacuation order due to numerous fire code violations and a natural gas leak. (Gareth Dillistone / CTV News)

The gas leak was so serious that utilities to the building, located on the corner of Stadacona Street and 1st Avenue N.W., were shut off.

One of the agencies helping the residents was the John Howard Society.

“Everybody was just really great, whether it be our city manager, the fire department, transit system, the police department, social services, Moose Jaw housing, ourselves, we all responded, so it was just a bunch of groups that really came together in a short period of time,” Jody Oakes from the John Howard Society said.

Oakes said as of Tuesday, they had met with 39 people but added there are eight or 10 others who spent time in the building that they haven’t heard from yet.

Oakes said they are hoping to connect with those people as soon as possible.

As for the building that dates back to the 1900s, it is now boarded up.

With files from Drew Postey and David Prisciak Top Stories

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