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Yorkton apartment fire possibly related to arson: Fire chief

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Emergency crews remained on the scene of an apartment fire in Yorkton, Sask. on Tuesday afternoon that could be connected to arson.

Yorkton Fire Chief Trevor Morrissey said emergency crews first responded to a separate fire Monday night that firefighters were able to completely put out.

RCMP have confirmed the first fire was not suspicious.

“We were at this location last night, the fire was out and this fire started in a totally different place,” he said.

Crews then responded to a second fire around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. This time the building was completely engulfed in flames.

The second blaze may have been arson, according to Morrissey.

“We are fairly certain it’s [been set] by hand, there was evidence of an intrusion when we came back,” Morrissey said.

(Stacey Hein/CTV News)

Morrissey said right now there are no casualties but added that could change once more searches are conducted.

“Firefighters got halfway through a secondary search, but there was an explosion on the second floor, so we had to stop there,” he said.

Two people trapped on the building’s third floor were saved by rescuers, according to Morrissey.

Meanwhile, residents near the apartment complex have been asked to evacuate due to a natural gas leak that could escalate to an explosion.

Daniel Lerat said he has lived on the second floor of the building, known as Riverview Place, for almost a year and is still in disbelief.

“I’m still in shock, I’m still processing it. It’s a big loss, especially this time of year,” Lerat said.

He said he has lost everything to the fire.

A local business called Extravadance is accepting donations at its’ Yorkton, Canora and Preeceville locations for thos who lost property in the fire. The owner, Kristin Webber, woke up Tuesday morning and decided to help after she heard the news.

“Basically, if you look around your house and anything you have, they have none of that,” she said.

Organizations such as the Red Cross, Victim Services and the nearby Yorkton Alliance church have also helped the displaced residents.

Fire crews remained on scene until Tuesday evening.

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