Fire destroys Labrador City apartment complex

Andrew Robinson
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Mayor says loss of 108-unit uninhabited building no help to housing shortage

A fire has destroyed an apartment complex under construction in Labrador City and forced the evacuation of a neighbouring hospital.

The fire was first reported at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday according to a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary news release, and firefighters were still stationed on Booth Avenue as of 8:30 p.m.

Labrador-Grenfell Health evacuated 16 patients from Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, moving its emergency services to the Salvation Army Citadel. Nine patients were taken to the citadel, while another was sent to a healthcare facility in the nearby community of Fermont, Que. The remaining patients were either medically discharged, given a day release, or released to family.

The apartment building housed 108 units.

Mayor Karen Oldford received news of the fire when it was first reported in the community. She said firefighters were focusing their efforts on protecting the hospital, given the apartment building was beyond saving.

The loss of the unoccupied apartment complex is a significant one for the community, according to the mayor.

“Labrador West is experiencing exponential growth, and shortage of housing is one of the things we’ve been combatting now for quite some time, and it’s something we’re working on very hard as a region,” said Oldford.

“This apartment building was going to be 108 units for families that were coming to live in our area and work with the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC). It’s a very significant loss.”

She added that the timing of the fire was inopportune, given the sprinkler system was not operational.

“The sprinklers were due to be hooked up this week,” she said.

A spokesman for Labrador-Grenfell Health confirmed to The Telegram that the hospital would not be reopening Sunday evening. The health authority has advised people requiring emergency care to either call 911 or come to the Salvation Army Citadel.

All other people requiring medical attention were being asked to go to the health-care facility in Fermont. Directions to that site are available on the Labrador-Grenfell Health website at

Twitter: @TeleAndrew


Organizations: Salvation Army, Captain William Jackman Memorial Hospital, Labrador-Grenfell Health Iron Ore Company of Canada IOC

Geographic location: Labrador, Booth Avenue, Fermont, Que Labrador West Fermont

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Recent comments

  • cape breton firefighter
    November 09, 2012 - 22:19

    I would agree that a fire so large,and a long period of burning, we must be thankful that there was no loss of life, I am sure the developers would have to follow all the canadian fire codes/and building codes,and be perodical inspected to move forward in construction, And to my brothers in the fire service in lab city,it seems you guys did the best you could under these conditions, stay safe!

  • Another Lab City Resident
    November 05, 2012 - 18:31

    @ Lab West Resident - Contractors have taken over Lab West but there is no blessing in disguise. Contractors are needed to build the new hospital, they are needed to build the expansion at IOC and the new mines here. Are you going to build them? It takes time and resources. This is the wilderness, everything cannot be delivered in an hour or so, you know that. Infrastructure is needed but somebody has to build it.

  • tsanford
    November 05, 2012 - 11:45

    Only 100 feet from a hospital? Couple of days later and hospital still evacuated! Why did it burn so intensely; what fire codes were in place? Were fire procedures followed? Presumably there will be an enquiry and anything else built more safely and with adequate clearance from existing structures, especially a hospital!

  • Lab West Resident
    November 05, 2012 - 11:10

    Lab West could not support an additional 200+ residents as it is. This is a blessing, not a tragedy as portrayed by local politicians, Use the tax dollars to build up the community before adding additional strain to infrastructure demanded by the mines. Open up residential building lots to the east and west of the town sites for sub-divisions. Many people would jump at the chance to build outside of the town limits. These two towns have gone so far down into the gutter over the past few years just to make a buck for a few select people and business. The permanent residents do not have a chance anymore. The contractors have taken over. Either step up, or move aside and let those that want to see the communities survive take charge. When is the net election again?

  • fire-fighter
    November 05, 2012 - 10:34

    this building was under construction and there were no lost of life, thats the main thing. the building can be re-build.

  • Jack
    November 05, 2012 - 07:21

    Now we know why sprinkler systems for large buildings and dwellings should be mandatory in Newfoundland and Labrador, especially in areas with high vacancy rates like Labrador City. In the meantime, shame on the developers for not having proper fire prevention measures in place and aggravating the housing shortage.

    • Pam Frampton
      November 05, 2012 - 07:29

      As our story clearly states, the developer did have proper fire prevention measures in place — a sprinkler system — but it was not at the phase in construction where it had been hooked up yet.