Late yesterday afternoon we heard the sirens of many fire trucks. It was during rush hour and we believed that there was a large traffic accident on the freeway that is not far away. With one of the local television station’s helicopter hovered overhead we turned to the early news to see what was happening.
We learned that it was not a traffic accident as we thought but a condo fire that had gotten out of control and we could see the smoke from the kitchen window. It took the fire department the better part of five hours to get the flames under control and the crews were still on site this morning when I diverted my morning walk to see the damage. There were still a few trucks at the complex this afternoon when we drove by assessing the destruction.
It has been very dry and hot in Alberta and there has been a fire ban, except for home barbecues, imposed for the province. It may be that a barbecue or smoking on a balcony started this blaze. The building is mostly wood frame and the flames quickly spread to the attic where it was difficult to contain.
It is likely that 78 units or more are destroyed, leaving many people homeless. Damages are estimated at $16 million for the building, and an already tight rental market is going to get a little tighter. The Red Cross has offered rooms for victims to stay in temporarily and will work with the provincial government to help those displaced. Luckily, nobody was killed or badly injured.