Fire in Auburn Bay destroys two houses

Two houses in Calgary's Auburn Bay community were destroyed by a fire that started in a house under construction. Firefighters had difficulty accessing the site, which is part of a new development.

Firefighting efforts hampered by lack of access to new development

Two houses in Calgary's Auburn Bay community were destroyed Saturday by a fire that started in a house under construction. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

A home in Calgary's Auburn Bay community has been destroyed by a fire a day after neighbours say the owners began moving in.

The fire started next door in a house under construction on Auburn Glen Green sometime before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

By the time the fire was extinguished, the new home appeared to be unsalvageable, while the house under construction was completely gutted, city officials said.

Firefighters responding to the call reported seeing a large black cloud of smoke over the area, and raised the one-alarm response to a second alarm.

Wind, access factors

Wind was a factor in spreading and feeding the flames, but city officials report that fire-fighting efforts were hampered by a lack of road access to the houses.

"The houses are located at the end of a street not yet completed, giving firefighters access from only one direction which complicated the fire attack," a press release from the City of Calgary stated.

Firefighters had difficulty getting to the site and connecting to a water source to fight the blaze. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Witnesses said fire trucks drove off-road over an adjacent empty field to reach the scene.

Witnesses also claim there was difficulty with access to water, noting firefighters could not use the fire hydrant nearest to the blaze and had to connect to another hydrant further down the street.

The fire was first discovered by children playing outside, who ran into their home to tell their 18-year-old brother, who then called 9-1-1. The children's home ended up being one of three houses in imminent danger of also catching fire.

Those three homes were damaged by radiant heat, but didn't catch fire.

No injuries have been reported.

With files from the CBC's Meghan Grant