RCMP charge two suspects with arson in Saskatchewan apartment building fire

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. – RCMP have charged two people with arson after an early morning fire Monday destroyed an apartment building in North Battleford, Sask., that forced some residents to jump for their lives into the bitter cold.

Police say 17 residents and six emergency responders were transported to hospital and have since been released.

One resident told CTV News that some people had to jump from the burning building.

The Canadian Red Cross is providing emergency support services for those displaced by the fire.

Keeanu Crookedneck, who is 22, is charged with arson and arson with disregard for human life, and is to appear in North Battleford provincial court on Friday.

Naomi Jean Yellowtail, who is 42, is charged with arson and breach of an undertaking.

“I would like to thank our investigators, as well as the North Battleford Fire Service and the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, for quickly and thoroughly working through this investigation, enabling us to lay charges and arrest these individuals,” S/Sgt. Jason Teniuk said in a release Thursday.

“I also want to thank all the emergency personnel who worked bravely, calmly and diligently at a dangerous scene to ensure all residents of this apartment complex were able to escape.”

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Pratt thanked people in the area who helped first responders get the residents out of the burning building.

“I would certainly use the word hero for all of their efforts,” he told CTV.

People in the city northwest of Saskatoon have been donating clothing to the displaced apartment residents, some who say they lost everything in the fire.

— With file from CTV

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2022

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