Sylvan Lake is rallying to help those who have been displaced from their homes after what appears to be a burst pipe in a Sylvan Lake apartment.
After many people were forced from their homes Tuesday night, some locals have taken to social media to gather volunteers and supplies for those without.
Offers of a place to store food, cook and even to just rest have come pouring in since residents of Axxess Sylvan Lake, on Broadway Rise were uprooted.
Locals have been offering food and clothing to those who in a rather scary and confusing situation.
Caroline De Ruyter, who lives on the fourth flour of the building where the pipe burst, says she is very grateful to those who are supporting them.
“I am staying with my sister… I am very lucky to have her here in Sylvan, but there were a lot that night who didn’t know what they were going to do,” De Ruyter said.
“There was one guy, I felt so bad for him, he just kind of shrugged and said he guessed he would be staying in his ice shack.”
Sunreal Property Management Ltd. and insurance companies are investigating the incident.
Residents were given about 20 minutes Wednesday afternoon to go into their apartments to gather what personal items they could.
De Ruyter says she is grateful she was able to grab some of her belongings and valuables but there are still many personal items that had to be left behind.
“I got what I could but there are things like my son’s baby memories… It is all a little bit emotional, you know.”
De Ruyter says it is important know for everyone who needs it to reach out for help, because they don’t have to struggle alone.
“There are people here who are willing to help, so I hope they won’t try and do it alone. The first thing I noticed about Sylvan Lake when I moved here is how the people are willing to help those in need. They are always there asking how can the help, what do you need. It is amazing, really.”
She says what is important now for those who have been forced out of their homes because of the water gushing down from the fourth flour of the building, is to have the essentials, and support.
“The essentials are important, a roof over your head, food and clothing, those things make you feel like you can survive, but having someone there somewhere you can go and talk and have support is important too.”
The fire alarm sounded at about 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, and De Ruyter says she was just sitting on her couch getting ready to watch some T.V.
She said after poking her head out the door, and many others doing the same, she saw water pouring from the ceiling nearby and coming towards her.
The fire department had been called, and all residents were told to leave the building immediately, and to avoid using the elevator.
“We were all shouting over the fire alarm, trying to figure out what was happening and where to go,” she said.
Residents waited outside for 45 minutes before being allowed into the parkade to get their vehicles. De Ruyter says by then the water was already starting to pool in the basement parkade.
She said the water was coming in through the ceiling and light fixtures, and believes a pipe burst somewhere.
“It feels like your whole world has turned upside down,” De Ruyter said.
While waiting for more information about what the next steps are, and hearing back from Sunreal Property Management, De Ruyter says she is taking things one day at a time and looking for silver linings.
“One silver lining in all of this I was going to be sitting in my condo all alone this Christmas, and now I get to spend it with my sister.”
Alberta Red Cross is supporting the residents who have been displaced for at least the first 72 hours. The Red Cross can be contacted at 1-888-800-6493.
Sunreal Property Management hopes to have essential services restored within 32 hours.
There are 55 units in the building, which are individually owned, it is unclear if each unit was occupied at the time of the incident.
No one was hurt in the flooding or evacuation of the building.
A Facebook group has been created, 3 Broadway Rise displacement support information, to give “support, advice and information” to those affected by the flooding.