Cape Breton single mom fears shell have to bear full cost of apartment blaze

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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SYDNEY, N.S. A single mother in Cape Breton could have to pay for some fire damage to her regional housing unit.
Twenty-two-year-old Ashley Layes and her two daughters, five-year-old Madison and infant Brodi, were not home when a fire broke out at the entryway of their rented apartment in Sydney two days after Christmas.
Cape Breton Regional Fire Services told the Cape Breton Post in December that the fire was accidental and believed to have been started by a candle.
However, Layes - who has since moved from the apartment after losing all of her family's belongings - didn't have tenant's insurance.
The single mother says she fears she may end up having to pay for everything that was damaged in apartment.
Joan McKeough, executive director of the Cape Breton Island Housing Authority, says it's too soon to be sure of that, as officials still have to assess damages and the cause of the fire.
McKeough said it's common practice for the housing authority to charge tenants for damages that were caused as a result of their actions.
She said payment of damages is based on what a person can afford, not necessarily the cost of the overall damage.
She said the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal carries out the housing authority's risk management issues, such as fire damage, and will be the office that decides whether or not Layes is financially responsible.
Asked how she could pay for damage to the unit, Layes said she has no idea.
The housing authority manages just over 3,200 family homes and seniors units for the Department of Community Services.

Organizations: Cape Breton Regional Fire Services, Cape Breton Post, Cape Breton Island Housing Authority Nova Scotia Department of Transportation Community Services

Geographic location: Cape Breton, SYDNEY

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