24 Nov -

Eglinton Avenue worst street for pedestrian deaths in Toronto: police

Eglinton Avenue is the deadliest street in Toronto when it comes to pedestrian deaths, police say.

Since the start of 2016, seven pedestrians have been struck and killed by vehicles on Eglinton Avenue between Dufferin Street in the west and Midland Avenue in the east.

“Four collisions were pedestrians who stepped out mid-block and three were a turning movement that caused the collision,” said Toronto police traffic services Const. Clint Stibbe.

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READ MORE: Female pedestrian struck and killed in Leaside

Area residents who spoke with Global News said Eglinton Avenue can be a tricky road to cross because it expands to six lanes and it often leaves pedestrians racing against the clock to get to the other side.

“One time I was crossing and it was my right of way and a car almost hit me,” said one woman crossing at Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East.

Another man crossing at the same intersection said near-misses between cars and pedestrians are a common sight.

READ MORE: Scarborough construction worker killed by car fleeing police: Police watchdog

“I’ve seen people get hit by cars, people get run over by cars,” said the man.

At Midland Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East alone, there have been two pedestrian fatalities including a construction worker who was killed on Oct. 12. A makeshift memorial remains at the TTC bus stop where the incident took place.

Residents along Eglinton Avenue said the problem is that there aren’t enough crosswalks between intersections, prompting some people to try their luck and jaywalk.

READ MORE: Elderly man in wheelchair in life-threatening condition after collision in Scarborough

Toronto police said the onus is not only on drivers, but on pedestrians too.

“Pedestrians have to make sure they’re crossing at proper crosswalks where it’s lighted and controlled,” said Stibbe.

The City of Toronto said it conducts a road safety audit every year on stretches of roads where there are a high number of fatalities and officials then come up with strategies to make the area safer.

24 Nov -

Fire destroys New Brunswick home days before Christmas

A major fire has destroyed the home of a York County couple, burning everything inside, including many of their Christmas gifts.

Nackawic Fire Chief William Hopkins said crews were called to the Temperance Vale, N.B. home at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Hopkins said it took more than a dozen firefighters eight hours to put out the blaze.  He said firefighters from other communities also came to help.

Homeowners Phyllis and Roy Coffin have lived in the house for 37 years.  The Coffins were on scene surveying the damage Wednesday morning.

Phyllis told Global News she was out when the fire happened, but her husband was home at the time.

She said they’re grateful no one was injured.

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“I’m devastated by the loss of our home of so many years, but so relieved that Roy got out,” Phyllis said.

She explained they lost everything other than a laptop and the clothes on their backs, but said most things are replaceable.

“It’s a bad situation but we’re alive. We’ll carry-on,” she said.

The couple said they’re staying with family and have made “alternate arrangements” for the holidays.  They plan on rebuilding on the property.

“The community is so kind and supportive.”

Former house resident Wes Corey now lives in Woodstock, N.B. but showed up at his old home to survey the damage after he found out about the fire on social media.

Corey says the Coffins’ house was his family’s homestead and was built in the 1800s.

“I was born in the living room here in 1960,” Corey said.

The youngest of seven, he said his mother decided to deliver him at home with the help of neighbours.

He and his family lived in the house until 1978 when they sold it to the Coffins.

“I think for everybody that’s experienced fire, it’s one of the worst things to witness,” Corey said.

He said he feels for the Coffins and is glad they’re safe.  Corey says he left the Coffins a message through their friends asking if there was anything he could do, including offering them a place to stay.

Corey came to town just a few weeks ago with some of his family to gather footage of the community and house.  He said growing up in the home had a profound impact on his life.

“We were preparing a little video that was going to be a Christmas gift to the rest of our family of growing up in this area,” Corey said.

He’s glad he got back to see the house a few weeks ago before “this unfortunate event happened.”

Corey said his sister is a novelist and has written several books about the community.  Her latest book is just going to publication, he said, and contains information and stories about the house.

Fire Chief issues warning to New Brunswickers regarding home heating

The fire was one of several across the province in the past few weeks.

READ MORE: House fire in Wirral, N.B. claims two lives

Hopkins said the cause is still under investigation, but it’s a good time to remind people about the dangers of electrical fires.

“Now we’ve got the real cold weather and people are using heaters like electric heaters and different things like that [they] could possibly be overloading their electric circuits in their house,” Hopkins said.

He said homeowners people should take extra precautions during the winter months by ensuring cords are safe and said heaters shouldn’t be plugged into extension cords.

Hopkins said it’s also important for people who are burning wood to make sure they have their flues checked and cleaned.  He said people can do their due diligence by making sure “everything is in good, working order.”

24 Nov -

Creative Edmonton Tourism campaign threatens to ‘capture’ Calgarians

In a video making the rounds on social media, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson warns Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: “Eight of your precious citizens may be taking a trip to Edmonton sooner than you think.”

He then laughs maniacally.

The dramatic clip is actually a campaign by Edmonton Tourism. There’s a link to the website at the bottom of the video, where eight Calgarians could win a fun-filled weekend trip to Edmonton.

It’s a play on Calgary Tourism’s tagline and hashtag: “Capture Calgary.”

“We thought, ‘let’s play on that and create a campaign that would be targeted to Calgarians, to entice them to enter our contest’ and get eight Calgarians ‘captured’ as it were to come check out Edmonton and see what YEG has to offer,” Renee Williams with Edmonton Tourism said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 14,000 times and over 500 people had entered the contest.

Williams credits a lot of that interest to the mysterious quality of the campaign and – of course – the mayor’s participation.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Edmonton Tourism attracting more visitors to ‘winter city’

    Calgary and Edmonton to see slight boost in tourism

  • Edmonton becoming national leader in sport tourism

    “Mayor Iveson came on board rather quickly and did a great job,” she said. “A little bit of the dramatic flair.”

    The video is also airing in Cineplex theatres in Calgary.

    “We’ve actually had some interesting comments from Calgarians,” Williams said. “A lot of folks entering the contest are coming on social [media] going: ‘I don’t know if you’ll convert me but I’m willing to give it a try.’”

    The prizes will be a weekend getaway to Edmonton and could include hotel stays, restaurants, events at Rogers Place, shopping and winter festivals.

    “The Rogers Place piece is really the key and kind of the hook,” she said. “A lot of people are excited to either come to go to a hockey game or see a concert.”

    Williams said this is the first time Edmonton Tourism has specifically targeted Calgary.

    “We thought, ‘why not?’ We’ve seen Calgary campaigns come to the Edmonton market. With the economy the way that it is, a lot of staycations are happening, people in the province are kind of staying put, staying closer to home and we thought, ‘why not strike while the iron is hot and get into Calgary?’ … and see if we can entice visitation.”

    To learn more about the Capture Calgary contest and to enter, click here.

24 Mar -

New questions open old wounds for grieving Winnipeg family

WINNIPEG —; A Winnipeg family grieving the loss of their 18-year old daughter and sister is now coping with the news that she was a homicide victim.

Lydia Whitford, 18, died in July of this year at the foster home where she lived in the RM of Springfield.

RELATED: Manitoba RCMP investigate homicide of 18-year-old woman in RM of Springfield

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RCMP announced on Tuesday that her death has now been ruled a homicide and the investigation is still active.

“I don’t really understand why anybody would hurt her,” said Jessica Whitford, Lydia’ older sister.

Lydia was non-verbal, with epilepsy and autism. She had been in the care of child and family services for almost ten years.

Although she couldn’t speak, Jessica said Lydia was a loving, innocent person.

But not knowing what exactly happened to her sister for more than five months has made the grieving process more difficult.

“It would have helped to know what happened to her, just anything, not just questioning it,” she said.

“It’s been very tragic for our family, the impact is very negative on each one of my family members,” said Lloyd Whitford, Lydia’s older brother.

Both Lloyd and Jessica say it took a week for someone to tell them their sister had died after she passed away on July 14.

“They knew to get a hold of me and I would get a hold of my mom, they never did anything like that,” said Jessica.

An emailed statement from the provincial government says this delay is being investigated.

“Child & Family Services Division and the authority (Southern First Nations Network of Care) are looking into this,” read the statement.

RCMP have made no arrests in connection to Lydia Whitford’s homicide but the investigation is continuing.

24 Mar -

Edmonton mother loses everything in house fire: ‘Nothing is salvageable’

A single Edmonton mother of three is devastated after the home she was renting went up in flames Saturday morning.

“It’s traumatic. It’s having everything that you’ve had and ever worked for just gone. Your Christmas tree, everything else that goes with it is gone,” Vanessa Schaub said.

The fire broke out in the home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m.

ChangSha Night Net

The house was destroyed in the blaze. The windows of the home remained boarded up Wednesday afternoon, which was the first time Schaub returned to the house after Saturday’s fire.

READ MORE: Firefighters battle cold temperatures to douse northeast Edmonton house fire

Schaub doesn’t have insurance and said everything she had was lost in the fire, including everything she gathered for her kids for Christmas. But what’s most devastating for her is losing the ashes of her unborn son.

“I was still pregnant with him when he passed away. He was a twin. I never got to know him. That’s all I had of him was his ashes,” she said, holding back tears. “I cannot recover those. Everything’s gone. Nothing is salvageable.

“I have to rebuild everything. Everything. I have things that have travelled with me since many years ago and I can’t get them back. Pictures I’ll never get back. My son’s ashes. None of those are ever going to come back. I worked so hard to make that a home for my family and you’re sitting there and you’re watching the fire and you’re helpless and you can’t do anything, that’s what hurts.”

Schaub said she was cooking Saturday morning when she stepped out of the kitchen to use the washroom. When she came back the fire had taken over.

“Something went wrong,” she said. “It just went out of control. I couldn’t do anything. I noticed that the flames were on the ceiling by that time and by then everything was gone. The most important thing was to get everyone out.”

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Fire broke out in a home in the area of 121 Avenue and 93 Street at around 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016.

Charles Taylor, Global News

Schaub and her three kids – aged seven, four and 20 months – made it out of the home safely. She’s been staying with friends while her kids have been at Kids Kottage, an organization that takes in children for up to 72 hours in emergency situations. Come Thursday, Schaub said she’s not sure what she’ll do.

“Just trying to find something that works for my kids. That’s what matters are my kids,” she said. “I want a home. I want to rebuild, give my kids another shot at everything, another Christmas.”

The exact cause of the fire has not been determined.

A house in north Edmonton remained boarded up Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 after a fire over the weekend.

Global News

A house in north Edmonton remained boarded up Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 after a fire over the weekend.

Global News

A house in north Edmonton remained boarded up Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016 after a fire over the weekend.

Global News

24 Mar -

IN PHOTOS: Global Edmonton’s 2016 Give Me Shelter campaign delivers the goods

Thanks to the generosity of Edmontonians, Global Edmonton’s annual campaign to gather toys and other items for women and children fleeing domestic violence wrapped up another wildly successful donation drive Wednesday.

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Since 2004, the Give Me Shelter campaign has seen Edmontonians drop by Global’s TV studio to bring goods that are later given to five women’s shelters: Win House, WINGS, A Safe Place, LaSalle Residence and Lurana Shelter.

READ MORE: Give Me Shelter campaign offers hope to women and children who escape domestic violence

According to the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters’ (ACWS) Annual Provincial Shelter data, between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, 5,032 women and 4,682 children were admitted to Alberta emergency shelters. That same report said 8,076 women and 8,283 children were turned away from ACWS member shelters due to a lack of capacity.

The holiday campaign was started by former Global Edmonton news anchor Lynda Steele.

-With files from Quinn Ohler.

View the photo gallery below of items raised through the Give Me Shelter campaign getting loaded onto trucks Wednesday.

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Global Edmonton volunteers get ready to load trucks with donations for women and children fleeing domestic violence as part of the Give Me Shelter campaign on Dec. 21, 2016.

Dave Carels/ Global News

Watch below: On Nov. 20, 2016, Global Edmonton launched its 13th annual Give Me Shelter campaign. Here’s a report Quinn Ohler filed about the campaign for Global News that day.

Watch below: Gord Steinke speaks with Lynda Steele who started Global Edmonton’s Give Me Shelter campaign 13 years ago. The campaign is aimed at helping families who are escaping domestic violence during the holidays.

24 Mar -

Group behind new Alberta refinery believes it could triple in size

As the NDP government looks for ways to kick start Alberta’s economy, the partnership building the Sturgeon Refinery near Redwater, north of Edmonton, feels it has a very strong case to make.

Phase one of the $8.5-billion refinery is scheduled to begin operating in late 2017. To make that deadline, a small army of men and women are on site every day.

“We have 7,500 people working out here today,” said Ian MacGregor, president of North West Refining, which has partnered with Canadian Natural Upgrading Limited to build the refinery.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Construction on phase one of Sturgeon Refinery given the go-ahead

    First phase of Sturgeon bitumen refinery gets partners’ green light

    Along with employment, MacGregor says they have an environmental case as well. The refinery will use carbon capture technology, capturing 40,000 tonnes of CO2 per day, then move it down a pipeline for enhanced oil recovery in central Alberta.

    With the first phase entering the final stages, the partnership is now positioning itself to expand.

    “We always conceived this as three identical copies of the exact same thing,” MacGregor said. “Once we did the engineering for phase one, we’ve more or less got the engineering done now.”

    The next step is to begin a conversation with the provincial government. The province is an integral part of the new refinery. It is providing bitumen and paying for it to be upgraded to diesel.

    “We agreed that we would both go back and have a look at it after we got to a certain point in the construction process,” MacGregor said. “We think we’re nearing that point now.”

    The NDP government campaigned on adding more value to Alberta’s natural resources, but isn’t jumping at the opportunity to expand this partnership just yet.

    “Government hasn’t made any decision with regard to further phases of the Sturgeon Refinery,” Minister of Energy Marg McCuaig-Boyd said in a statement. “We are awaiting completion of phase one so we can assess its operations and make sure that phase two is in the public interest.”

    MacGregor believes the case has been made, and when the time is right, he will approach the government about moving ahead with helping Alberta’s economy.

    “We’re making something of value, we’re doing it in a low CO2 way, and we’re making something we can export with the existing infrastructure we have.”

24 Mar -

Fulfilling Christmas wishes for the homeless in Calgary

For the homeless, holidays are hard. But a heartfelt concept that’s been running for the past decade is helping make their Christmas a little brighter in Calgary.

The Drop-In & Rehab Centre Society profiles homeless clients on their website in hopes of matching them with a generous donor. There are dozens of wishes left to fill on the Calgary Christmas WishList.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Calgary students stuff socks for homeless people

  • Dangerous cold has workers busy keeping Calgary homeless warm

  • Calgary veterinarians provide free clinic for homeless

    Tracy Korobanik, 47, has been living at the DI for four years. He spends his days volunteering in the shelter’s laundry room. He spends 12 hours a day there, seven days a week.

    “I like to give back to the DI. They house me, feed me, clothe me.”

    He says he’s grateful for the little he does have, because it’s not the material things that bring him comfort through his struggles.

    “Down in laundry, it’s quiet–a safe haven,” Korobanik said. “It’s like a family. It’s like going home.”

    His wish? A USB stick that allows him to save a cherished comfort in the chaos.

    “I put on the headphones and I escape, watch a movie.”

    The executive director of the DI said she’s humbled hearing what little so many of the clients have asked for.

    “To ask for something non-monetary–that every homeless person be safe or that everyone be cared for,” Debbie Newman said. “It goes beyond what we normally think about.”

    “There’s the gifts that nobody would ask for, right?”

    But it’s what those gifts represent that’s invaluable.

    Korobanik feels that knowing someone cared enough to wrap a present just for him to open Christmas morning is special.

    “It makes me feel like a kid again. Everyone should get one gift at Christmas.”

24 Feb -

Randall Enright sentenced to 10 years in prison for death of Matt Flitton

Randall Enright was given 10 years behind bars Tuesday for what Justice Rodney A Jerke called a brutal and senseless act. He added Enright killed Matt Flitton in a violent knife attack in September 2015. Enright stabbed Flitton 14 times.

Enright was given a day-and-a-half credit for each day he was behind bars prior to sentencing. He has eight years and 287 days left to serve.

Flitton’s sister, Dalayna Taverner, felt the sentence was not stiff enough.

“Matt opened his house up to him and this is what we get,” she said.

ChangSha Night Net


    Preliminary hearing waived for man charged with second-degree murder of Matt Flitton

  • Lethbridge man accused of killing Matt Flitton makes court appearance

    Friends mourn the loss of Matt Flitton

    “We get to live without Matt for the rest of our lives and he gets eight-and-a-half frickin’ years. What a joke. It’s unbelievable.”

    Enright was originally charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

    READ MORE: Randall Enright pleads guilty to manslaughter in death of Matt Flitton

    Flitton’s wife Kaylee said no sentence would ever be justice for Matt. With a 10-year sentence, Enright has the ability to still have a future that Matt will never have.

    “He’ll get a chance to have a family. He’ll get a chance to meet someone and we have to deal with this loss forever,” Kaylee said.

    “There is no amount of years that they could have given that would ease the pain that each and every one of us feel. There is no amount of years.”

    Defence lawyer Greg White said his client agrees with Flitton’s family and accepts the sentence he’s been given.

    “There’s never been a case of a stabbing in Alberta that has gone above nine years and so this is the highest sentence somebody has ever got for a stabbing in Alberta,” he explained.

    “It’s in the range, so it’s definitely an appropriate sentence. Again, that is no consolation for Mr. Flitton’s family.”

    Originally, the Crown had asked for a sentence of between 12 and 16 years. The defence had said seven-and-a-half to 10 years would be appropriate.

    White added his client plans to enrol in a drug and alcohol treatment program while he is in federal prison.

24 Feb -

Syrian refugees in Saskatoon fear for family still living in Aleppo

When Intisar Dagheli fled Syria with her husband Jihad Mohamad, they didn’t have time to bring any pictures of the loved ones they left behind.

As Syrian rebels once again evacuated the war-torn city Wednesday, it was those family members they feared for.

“I’m very sad about everyone now leaving Aleppo,” Dagheli said.

ChangSha Night Net


  • UN to send monitors as buses resume evacuating remaining civilians, rebels from Aleppo

    READ MORE: Aleppo evacuations resume as Syrian government regains control of city

    Her father, his wife and three siblings cannot leave the city that has seen brutal fighting between rebels and the regime of President Bashar Assad since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

    Images of people fleeing east Aleppo in buses have refocused international attention on the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

    But Mohamad takes little comfort in seeing people leaving their homes.

    “They invested in their houses a lot and their houses [are] just destroyed and they don’t have a home or shelter, so where is the hope here?” Mohamad said through an interpreter.

    Since arriving in Saskatoon in February, the couple has had to explain to their three elementary school-aged children the horrors witnessed on television news.

    Their 11-year-old son asked his father if they would ever return to Aleppo.

    “God willing. We can’t do anything about it so far. So just hope that we will go back one day,” was Mohamad’s response, according to the interpreter.

    READ MORE: Bana Alabed, Syrian girl with viral 桑拿会所 account, safely evacuated from Aleppo

    The boy’s uncle, Ismat Mohamad, arrived in Saskatoon three weeks ago.

    The family asked that people in Canada do what they can to help Syrians and to keep the country in their thoughts.

    Learning English and finding suitable housing are among the biggest challenges for refugees, according to Ashfaque Ahmed, manager of settlement and family support services at the Saskatoon Open Door Society.

    But emotional trauma is also a common and serious issue.

    “We provide some counseling,” Ashfaque said. “We have resources where we provide them the referrals to different places to go and get the right support and help.”

    The Saskatoon Open Door Society has welcomed 485 Syrian refugees in the past year.

24 Feb -

Witnesses describe ‘nightmare’ of deadly Mexican Christmas blast

Three times Celso Monroy has witnessed Mexico‘s San Pablito fireworks market erupting into a fireball of pungent smoke, blinding flashes and ear-splitting explosions.

On Tuesday, Monroy again escaped with his life, but for the first time there were bodies strewn about as he rushed to rescue his family from the scenes of carnage emerging from shattered stalls that had bustled with Christmas cheer moments earlier.

At least 32 people died and dozens were injured when the huge fireworks bazaar on the northern fringe of Mexico City exploded in a dazzling array of lethal pyrotechnics that razed the marketplace to a blasted plain of smoking rubble.

WATCH: At least 32 people have died and dozens others have been injured in a massive explosion at a fireworks market in Mexico Tuesday.

ChangSha Night Net

In little over a decade, the country’s most celebrated fireworks market in Tultepec has blown up three times, with the latest massive blast raising serious questions about why the festive public was again exposed to such deadly risks.

“This was the biggest and the worst,” Monroy, 41, decked out in a cowboy hat and boots, said after his last escape. “It was really loud, like a bomb. Lots of people were running and looking for help, and those we could get out, we got out.”

“There were lots of colors, I can’t say it was beautiful because of the sadness and loss,” said Monroy, who has spent more than a decade making rockets and fireworks at the market. “There are no winners here. There’s nothing here.”

WATCH: Widespread devastation after massive explosion that killed 32 at fireworks market in Mexico

As the wind kicked up around lunchtime, tiny funnels of wind whipped through the wasteland, lifting trash, dust and burned fragments into a series of dancing columns.

Alan Jesus Chavez, a local medical student who rushed to the scene as the blasts went off and the market stalls blazed, worked to pull people out of the burning ruins.

While handing out milk and water, a woman came to his side to ask him to free her baby, who was trapped under rubble.

“But when we got everything off and found the baby, it was already dead,” said Chavez, who felt the pulse of five of the people who lost their lives. “When I got out of here and got home, I cried because of all the dead people I had seen.”

WATCH: Mexico’s president holds minute of silence in tribute to fireworks market victims


The government has yet to say what sparked the tragedy, noting only that there were six separate blasts. Federal investigators pored through the wreckage for clues on Wednesday.

Local resident Ivan Perez, 23, whose girlfriend works at the market, said there was a rumor that the explosions began when a woman accidentally dropped a “brujita,” a kind of banger.

Such was the economic importance of the bazaar to locals, he said, that bribes were sometimes paid to sell fireworks not permitted by official regulations, Perez said.

WATCH: Explosion at Mexico fireworks market recorded from kilometres away

But after the third tragedy in just over a decade, the market’s prospects looked grim, he added.

READ MORE: Explosion at fireworks market in Mexico leaves 29 dead, injures dozens

“I don’t think it will get back on its feet,” he said.

In 2005, fireworks maker Monroy was just leaving when the explosions broke out; nearly a year later, he was standing on a bridge overlooking the market when the sky lit up again.

On Tuesday, Monroy had gone outside the surrounding fence to fix his bike when the sudden, rapid blasts began propelling huge clumps of concrete through the air. Fear gripped him because his family were still inside along with hundreds of others.

They escaped with only a fright. Others were not so lucky.

“I saw a lot charred bodies and dead. It’s a nightmare that in time you forget,” said Monroy. “The children were crying, shouting, asking for help.” (Editing by Dave Graham and Lisa Shumaker)

24 Feb -

Offshore ban in Arctic will hurt northern economy: NWT premier

A federal decision to stop issuing offshore oil and gas licences in the Arctic was made without consultation with the people whose economy stands to pay the price, Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod said Wednesday.

ChangSha Night Net

The leader of the territory south of the oil-rich Beaufort Sea said he heard about the new policy just two hours before it was made public Tuesday in a joint statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama.

McLeod said he is disappointed by Ottawa’s “unilateral” move, which he said has set back recent initiatives by Ottawa to give Canada’s territories more autonomy.

“We need to have northerners making decisions about the North that affect them,” McLeod said in an interview.

READ MORE: Liberals to ban offshore oil and gas licenses in Arctic waters

“We live here, we want to protect the environment. … In order to appease opposition to resource development in the south, they’re looking at using the North to put in protected areas and stopping development.”

Trudeau defended the decision Wednesday while in Calgary, saying the measure represents a “historic” moment that will protect the Arctic for generations to come from a devastating oil spill under sea ice.

“We have been engaged in significant northern consultations over the past months,” he said.

“We have had Mary Simon (a special representative from Indigenous and Northern Affairs) and a number of top people engaged with consultations on economic development in the North.”

READ MORE: Obama administration bans new offshore drilling in Arctic Ocean

Trudeau said he called the territorial premiers and northern indigenous leaders “over the past few days” to tell them about the licence ban, which would be reviewed every five years, and explain federal commitments to invest in marine infrastructure while providing opportunities for fishing, science and other economic activities.

There is no drilling or production currently in Canada’s Arctic waters, nor is any planned in the near future, so the economic impact of the ban will be muted, he added.

But Cory Vanthuyne, chairman of the legislative economic development committee for the Northwest Territories, said the decision could impede new investment into the region’s economy.

“We want to make sure that when times do take a more positive turn that we’re doing the right things to indicate to investors that we’re the right place to come and put your dollars,” he said, pointing out that mining company Dominion Diamond recently decided to move its Yellowknife head office to Calgary.

READ MORE: Report: huge gas resource in B.C., Yukon, NWT

Imperial Oil is also trying to sell its 11,000-barrel-a-day Norman Wells oilfield after nearly a century of operating in the Northwest Territories.

McLeod said the licensing ban cuts off the territory from a potential bounty of seven billion barrels of oil and 92 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. He said he will continue to press Trudeau for economic solutions during a promised meeting with him and other territorial premiers early next year.

Steven Rowe, a spokesman for the National Energy Board, said there hasn’t been any drilling in the Arctic offshore in the past 10 years.

He added, however, that several companies including Repsol, Chevron, Imperial Oil, Husky Oil, Suncor Energy and BP Canada have “significant discovery” licences, issued after drilling programs in the past found oil and gas pools.

He said those licences don’t have expiry dates and would in theory allow the company to re-enter the oilfield with a development drilling program.

24 Feb -

MD Ambulance paramedics recover after call volumes surge through the roof

Saskatoon paramedics were left running off their feet Tuesday after call volumes went through the roof. Responders with MD Ambulance required back-up and attended over 100 calls in a 24-hour period.

On Wednesday, call volumes were steady but paramedics were finally breathing a sigh of relief after running ragged the day before.

“It felt like the wheels fell off the bus,” Gerry Schriemer, chief of EMS for MD Ambulance, said.

“The call volume we did by 2:30 was about 60 to 65 calls, that’s a normally crazy day in 12 hours.”

READ MORE: MD Ambulance at peak capacity, delays expected for minor emergency calls

Let alone in a seven-and-half hour time frame and the calls kept coming in, said Schriemer.

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    “By the time 24 hours rolled around we hit the 100 mark and it stayed busy right up until midnight, one o’clock and then it started to slow down.”

    The last lateral transfer from one facility to another by paramedics was at 4 a.m. CT on Wednesday.

    According to Schriemer, response times to the most dire of situations were done in timely fashion but as less severe cases stacked up, so did the need for back-up.

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    Rural centres chipped in where they could and MD Ambulance utilized the fire department to respond to calls they usually wouldn’t attend.

    “On top of that we had our normal capacity of 12 ambulances on street, two supervisors in rovers, we brought back crews to staff ambulances so at the peak we were running 15.”

    Local emergency departments managed the volumes just fine but were in constant communication with first responders.

    “As an emergency department we work very closely with our EMS partners to ensure we’re freeing up EMS units to get out and get to those next calls,” Graham Blue, director of emergency services for the Saskatoon Health Region, said.

    According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information in 2014, 80 per cent of Saskatoon’s population had a regular doctor they went to.

    At times, Schriemer said a non-emergency can feel like a true emergency to a person and without placing blame on anyone told Global News that of all the calls taken on Tuesday – 40 per cent of those calls were categorized to be lower acuity and could have been handled in another manner.

    “The ER triage patients as we triage patients so if you come in by ambulance but if you’re low acuity, you’re going to be waiting.”

    “Whether you wait three or four hours in the ER or three to four hours in a clinic, if you have that ability and it’s not a serious situation don’t tie up the ERs, go the clinic that’s available to you in your community.”

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    According to Blue, of 42 multi-physician clinics surveyed in the region, 80 per cent said they would have a doctor on-call during the holidays.

    “With a family physician, they know the whole every complexity that a patient may or may not have. When you’re coming in to see an emergency physician we just get a snapshot of last three hours for that person or family so a family physician really knows the whole care needs of that person.”

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