In Winnipeg drug-related fires become epidemics

In Winnipeg drug-related fires become epidemics, Vladimir Volenyuk

On Monday, January 14th a fire broke out in the Maryland area, just a day after the fire on Ellis Avenue.

According to the company, which manages both facilities, two large fires in apartments in Winnipeg`s the West End were caused by drug use.

“Both of these fires were drug-related,” said Mike Romani, president of Armor, a company that manages 626 Ellice Avenue and 426 Maryland Street. Romani says he believes that one of the fires was specifically related to the use of methamphetamine.

“Both fires began with the burning of the couch,” he said. “Both tenants organized parties in apartments, and according to reports, they [set fire] to couches.”

Dozens of people still have no shelter after these fires. One building was completely freed from tenants and in the other, there are several apartments that need to be renovated.

Romani said it was not the first fire started by someone who used drugs, but this is a rapidly growing problem.

"Last year I had six fires, according to my assumptions related to drugs."

He said that his company not only deals with fires but also other drug problems in 5,000 apartments throughout Winnipeg, which Armor manages or owns.

"A lot of domestic violence, a lot of broken families, a lot of addicts on the stairwells."

Winnipeg authorities started a full-scale investigation into city`s meth problem. As per Winnipeg Police, there is a spike in meth-related crime incidents, like property theft, residential break-ins, unreasonable anger towards each other (meth users) and other people around them, violent attacks, some ending up in lethal outcomes for victims, lately there were three deadly beatings in just three days in the city, one of the incidents is already connected to meth use, two other cases are still under investigation.

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