Newcomers homeless after house burns down

·2 min read

A house with a long and storied history in Neepawa has burned down, leaving a number of newcomers to the community without a home.

The Neepawa Fire Department received a call about a blaze that had broken out inside the home located at 281 Mill St. just before 2 p.m. Friday. Members from the Minnedosa Fire Department also attended the scene.

The home, which the Manitoba Historical Society says was built in 1892, was originally located on First Street, next to Knox Presbyterian Church, where it served as a manse. It is listed as historically significant by the Town of Neepawa and the Neepawa Heritage Committee.

The Town of Neepawa has been working closely with the people who lived at the residence, said Colleen Synchyshyn, chief administrative officer. The town met with the residents Friday and again Monday morning to put them in touch with Westman Immigrant Services (WIS).

On Facebook, spokespeople from various organizations said donations, monetary and otherwise, are being accepted by St. Dominic’s Roman Catholic Church and Prairie Alliance Church on behalf of the family.

According to Synchyshyn, the fire department was later able to retrieve some important documents from the house.

“We’re trying to make sure they get their documents back, have somewhere to live and access to counselling services,” Synchyshyn explained. “We’re going to see them through more of the administrative things … we’re walking them through everything so there’s no surprises.”

Though Synchyshyn was unable to reveal the identities of the residents, she did say they were newcomers to Canada who initially came over to work for HyLife Foods, a pork processing plant, located three kilometres outside of Neepawa.

According to Synchyshyn, it took firefighters more than three hours to extinguish the blaze. Although she could not comment on what had started the fire, Synchyshyn did say that for the time being, it was not determined to be “suspicious” in nature. However, the investigation is ongoing.

The Sun contacted the Neepawa and Minnedosa fire departments, as well as WIS, but did not receive a reply by press time.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun