Brandon University supports students left homeless by fire

A firefighter is silhouetted against a two-story building engulfed in flames.
Five Brandon University students lost their homes and possessions in a major fire downtown this week. The University community has stepped forward in support. (Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun used by permission)

The Brandon University community has stepped up to assist several students left homeless after a downtown fire, now blamed on arson.

Five BU students were living in an apartment complex on 12th Street that burned to the ground early Monday morning. They are all safe. Brandon University was immediately in contact with those affected and has been working with and through the Red Cross to provide supports.

“Being woken up at three in the morning and told to flee meant students had no time to gather personal items or mementos, which is heartbreaking,” said Dean of Students Katie Whelpton. “We are so glad that every student is safe, and we can help in some small way by making sure they’re able to continue their education. Who cares if some homework was lost.”

Brandon University has provided all affected students with up to $700 cash to help with immediate needs, like replacing toiletries and other necessities. BU has also made available loaner laptops and replacement textbooks, plus room and board in Residence for those who need them. Academic supports, and counselling if needed, have also been offered through Student Services.

In some areas, staff and faculty have also stepped up to help students with warm winter clothing and gift cards.

Many of these supports are only available thanks to the Student Emergency Support Fund, which relies on the generosity of donors to meet unforeseen needs like these.

Gifts to help replenish the Student Emergency Fund can be made to Brandon University Foundation by mail to 270–18th Street, Brandon, MB, R7A 6A9, online at, or by phone to 204-727-7374.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with everyone who is affected by this fire.


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