I haven't heard anything about how the Edmonton Police are progressing with their investigation into the fire at the Carrington Seniors Residence, apparently considered an arson.
However, I did receive an email from a man who claimed to be a first responder at the fire and he made some interesting observations backed up with pictures. It seems that the sidewalk immediately outside one of the fire exits was being replaced and there was an excavated trench about 8 inches deep. For seniors with various levels of capabilities, to exit down 3 or 4 flights of stairs, then to try to cross this trench at 3am seems a bit scary. Many of them just couldn't get across the trench without help. It raises an obvious question about the fire code which I'm not qualified to answer. The rule of thumb is you do not block an escape route in any way. The details were forwarded to the Fire Inspector for consideration.
Immediately after the fire, the entire complex was sealed off and fenced. The author of this email claims that he went back the next day and the trench had been filled in. Its a strange allegation. If true, what would be the reason for filling in a hole on a condemned building?
Please keep in mind that the photos are somewhat inconclusive and there are no photos at 3am, at the time of the evacuation. I have no way of knowing if this story is true, but it does concern me.
I would definitely like to see these buildings made easier to get out of. I'm very grateful to these people who responded at the time and prevented loss of life. But some things about the evacuation plan still don't seem right to me.
Update (July 30,2009)
I misconstrued some of the details Jim had sent in previous emails, so here is his latest email point out a couple of my errors:
I read your latest blog and have to point out some errors...
"the sidewalk immediately outside one of the fire exits was being replaced and there was an excavated trench"
not true, there was no work being done, the sidewalk/trough was built to funnel water to the sewer, now the system wont work because the sidewalk is above the sewer feeder trough. It was built that way and had been there for approx 10 years.
"The author of this email claims that he went back the next day"
not true, I went back 3 days later (Wed June 3rd/8:30pm) to find the sidewalk/trough had been back filled and the courtyard had been soden,by 11am Friday there was a sidewalk installed and the staircase had been changed from a wooden one to a concrete staircase.
I just have to keep the facts straight.