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1 dead, 3 injured after fire destroys Edmonton group home





One person is dead and three others in hospital after an an early-morning fire at a group home for people with disabilities in west Edmonton on Monday.

Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, Edmonton police confirmed the death of one of the fire victims.

Earlier, an Alberta Health Services spokesperson had said four patients taken to hospital had included a man in his 40s in critical, life-threatening condition, a man of an unknown age in critical, life-threatening condition, a man in his 30s in serious condition and a woman in her 30s in serious condition.

Neighbours said the home, at 166th Street and 90th Avenue in the West Meadowlark neighbourhood, housed three people with mental and physical disabilities.

Staff would rotate through the home, said neighbour Ben Zubieto, who lives directly across the street.

Zubieto said he was still awake early Monday when he heard a woman scream outside.

Another neighbour, Zally Ocier, shot video showing the house engulfed in flames as a fire truck arrives on scene.

Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers.

One person is dead and three others are in hospital after an early-morning fire at a group home. 0:22

“I saw this lady standing by the sidewalk and she was screaming for help. And the next thing I saw was the fire,” Zubieto said.

Zubieto saw flames coming out of the upstairs window of the split-level house. He called 911 and spoke to the woman who had screamed for help. She worked in the home.

“She was in shock and she was shaking, and she was worried about her clients being inside, the three of them,” he said. “There’s nothing we could do because the flames were coming out of the windows.

“I just hope they’re OK.”

One person is dead and three others injured after a house fire early Monday in west Edmonton. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Fire crews were called around 1:45 a.m. and arrived on scene in six minutes, said Edmonton Fire Rescue Services spokesperson Suzzette Melado.

“When firefighters got to the address they were able to rescue three people who were inside the home. One was in critical condition,” Mellado said. “They were all transported to hospital by EMS.”

A fourth person was assessed on scene and also taken to hospital.

Fire crews had the fire under control by 3:30 a.m. 

A total of five Edmonton firefighter units and 21 firefighters responded to the blaze. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim, especially given this time of the year,” said fire Chief Ken Block.

By late Monday morning, the house appeared severely damaged and investigators remained at the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 


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Ottawa unveils funding for poultry and egg farmers hurt by free-trade deals





Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share due to two recent free-trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada’s agriculture minister announced Saturday.

Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference.

“Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow,” she said.

The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free-trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.

The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.

But on Saturday, Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years — beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.

Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year.

Payments based on formulas

David Wiens, vice-president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future.

“I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on,” he said.

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Employee of Ottawa Metro store tests positive for COVID-19





Metro says an employee of its grocery store on Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa has tested positive for COVID-19.

The company says the employee’s positive test result was reported on Nov. 25. The employee had last been at work at the Metro at 50 Beechwood Ave. on Nov. 19.

Earlier this month, Metro reported several cases of COVID-19 at its warehouse on Old Innes Road.

Positive test results were reported on Nov. 2, Nov. 6, Nov. 11, and Nov. 19. The first two employees worked at the produce warehouse at 1184 Old Innes Rd. The other two worked at the distribution centre at the same address.

Metro lists cases of COVID-19 in employees of its stores and warehouses on its website

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Tinseltown: Where 50-year-old ‘tough guys’ become youngsters again





Audy Czigler wears glitter like a Pennsylvania miner wears coal dust. It’s on his face and hands, in his hair and on his clothing. It’s an occupational hazard that he says he just can’t get rid of.

And when he’s sifting through job applications from people wanting to work at his Tinseltown Christmas Emporium on Somerset Street W. in Hintonburg, the glitter is a consideration. For he’s not looking for people who can simply endure it; no, he’s screening for people who revel and carouse in glitter, for those for whom the 10,000th playing of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is as refreshing as the first, for those who believe that the 12 days of Christmas last 365 days a year. The believers.

Sure, he has heard the voices of skeptical passersby on the sidewalk outside his shop, especially in the summer months when visions of sugarplums have receded from many people’s minds.

“I hear them out there a few times a day,” he says, “wondering how a Christmas store can possibly survive year-round.

“I want to go out and tell them,” he adds, but his voice trails off as a customer approaches and asks about an ornament she saw there recently, of a red cardinal in a white heart. Where is it?

There’s scant room for sidewalk skeptics now, crowded out by the dozens of shoppers who, since October, have regularly lined up outside the store, patiently biding their time (and flocks) as pandemic-induced regulations limit the shop to 18 customers at a time.

Once inside, visitors will be forgiven for not first noticing the glitter, or even the rendition of Baby, It’s Cold Outside playing on the speakers. For there’s no specific “first thing” you notice. The first thing you notice is EVERYTHING — a floor-to-ceiling cornucopia of festivity, reminiscent perhaps of how the blind man in the Gospel of John may have felt when Jesus rubbed spit and mud in his eyes and gave him sight for the first time.

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