Community support ‘overwhelming’ after fire destroys 8 homes on Sask. First Nation

On April 24, Ameilia Young woke up to a loud sound at her home on Mosquito, Grizzly Bear’s Head, Lean Man First Nation, 125 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

“The shingles from my roof were flapping or something,” she said.

“I thought it was [a] tornado.”

She said she looked out her bedroom window and saw trees moving in the wind.

“I looked to my right, and here there were already flames coming up on top of our roof,” she said.

“I just panicked.”

Young almost ran out of the complex with just a nightgown on but she made it out safely.

An eight plex on Mosquito Grizzly Bear's Head Lean Man First Nation, before it burned down
Glenda Bird says the units were all recently renovated, with the last touches being added two weeks before the fire. (Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation/Facebook)

The early afternoon fire destroyed the eight-unit complex, which housed 31 people according to a news release put out by the First Nation, including children ranging in age from five months to teenagers.

They lost their homes, but everyone is safe.

Mosquito First Nation’s community navigator Glenda Bird is finding places to stay for the affected families, including hotel rooms and other units. She said Young specifically was proud of her home, which along with the eight other units had been recently renovated.

Bird said the amount of support from the community helping the families is “just overwhelming.”

Donations including diapers, blankets and formula.
Glenda Bird says donations of necessities started pouring in from communities around the First Nation, many of which helped the families with younger children. (Mosquito Grizzly Bear’s Head Lean Man First Nation/Facebook)

She said the band hall is currently packed with donations of clothes, kitchen supplies and other necessities.

“I’m proud of our province, our nearby communities, our neighbours on how they have just poured in to help the victims,” she said.

Counselling available for victims

Bird said resources for the victims who needed counselling were available immediately after the fire, resources which Young said have helped her.

“I don’t know how to handle this,” she said.

“It’s very hard to concentrate on my job.”

Young, who works for the First Nation as a janitor, said since the fire she’s had a hard time sleeping, still fearing the worst is going to happen.

“I’m just glad they have counselors here to counsel me if I need somebody to talk to, someone’s right there,” she said.

“That’s the good part; someone is always there to help.”

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