Fire leaves 11 people homeless in Portage la Prairie
Two children were injured and a number of people left homeless after a fire destroyed a housing complex in Portage la Prairie.
The blaze broke out yesterday afternoon and by the time fire crews arrived the entire building was engulfed in flames.
"My home's gone. I'm homeless right now I don't know what to think," said Stephanie Spence as she surveys the remains of her dwelling.
There's not much left of the multi-unit complex. Spence was on her way to a funeral when she got the call.
Her four daughters including four-year-old Dakota and nine-year-old Kiana were inside when it started.
"We didn't grab anything. Our jackets were right in front of us and we grabbed them," but that was it explained Kiana.
The family says it started on the stove, a grease fire that quickly got out of hand. The two girls with their 16 and 17-year-old sisters frantically tried to escape.
"My sister wanted to get out the back door but I told her no because of the fire," said Kiana.
The family made it out through the porch door. One of the girls remains in hospital. She's still recovering from minor burns, smoke inhalation and from standing barefoot in the snow.
"She's got a lot of guilt, a lot of emotions happening with her so I got to work with her on that," explains Spence.
It wasn't just the Spence family who lost its home. The building had four separate suites with a total of 11 people living in it. RCMP says besides the four sisters, no one was home when the fire broke out.
One tenant, Alana arrived with her roommate shortly after the fire broke out.
"I said to Lisa, what the heck are those girls doing in the snow, they're not even dressed yet and I thought, why are they crying? I thought that is so strange and I just walked around and the officer came up to me and Lisa said to me you can't go into the house it's burning," said Alana.
The community has already sprung into action. Members of a local church have opened a thrift store to help victims of the fire.
"We have the names of the four families involved and that's who we're helping this morning," said Karen Schellenberg, who's the pastor of the Portage Mennonite Church.
For now Spence and the other tenants have found temporary places to stay, and she's just happy her family is still together.
"That was my main concern when I got the call, where's the kids, my girls," said Spence who's happy that question was answered the way it was.
With a report from CTV's Joe Olafson