Fire destroyed at least eight suites in a southeast Edmonton town home complex leaving a number of people homeless Friday.
The initial fire call was made at 11:03 a.m., after which fire crews responded to a blaze at a two-storey complex near 26 Avenue and 79 Street.
Deputy Fire Chief Scott MacDonald said the building housed 16 suites. Half burned and the other half suffered water and smoke damage.
“It was very difficult, it was fully involved when we arrived,” MacDonald said. “It was tough to get at those top two suites but the crews did a great job.”
MacDonald said the wood construction of the building made it more difficult to get under control.
Everyone was safely evacuated, along with several pets.
Johnathan Thompson lives nearby and was on his way home when he saw the flames.
“As I showed up I started asking people, ‘has everybody been evacuated?’ and some people said, ‘no, I don’t know, I think there’s a pet right there,’ which was right next to the fire, so me and another fellow started kicking doors in,” he said.
“We kicked that one door in and as we went in we grabbed the dog, we got him out. The fire was about four to five feet away from us, licking our arms, and then we made our way to the next house where we saved the cat and the dog,” Thompson added.
“I have a family and I have pets. You know like, if they lost their pet and the fact that I’m standing there and I didn’t do anything,” Thompson said. “I just didn’t think, I reacted. I had to make sure every bedroom in that place was clear and I needed to know that.”
Matthew Larsen was on his way to his father’s home when he saw flames on a balcony.
“I called 911 and my brother went to all of the houses and was yelling, ‘fire’ and tried to get everybody out of there,” he said.
Larsen said he was shocked by how quickly the blaze progressed.
“It started as a little porch fire and then it engulfed the whole structure and it just went up like crazy.”
Larsen’s brother, Nick, helped evacuate residents.
“I started banging on the doors and tried to get everybody out,” Nick Larsen said.
He said the flames were so intense they quickly spread to a spruce tree in the front yard of the complex.
Bernie Woren lives in the building. His suite suffered water damage.
“I’ve been told that there’s at least six to eight inches of water in mine,” Woren said. “I’m a little pissed off because I want to know why it happened and what happened.”
Theresa Charles also lives in the building. She was out shopping when she got a call from her mom.
“She saw the complex on TV so I drove home and prayed it was not mine,” Charles said.
Her 15-year-old cat Storm was rescued, but now she worries about what’s next.
“It’s the damage and find a place to live and deal with your pets and deal with your kids and insurance – and picking back up your life,” Charles said. “It’s scary.”
Firefighters were on scene for several hours putting out hot spots.
The cause is still under investigation.
Fire crews battle a fire at a southeast Edmonton condo complex. Global News
Fire crews battle a fire at a southeast Edmonton condo complex.