Officials say the quick action of neighbours saved four people, including a baby and a toddler, in a Calgary apartment fire early Friday morning.

Crews were called to the 2000 block of Centre Street N.W. at around 1:30 a.m. MT when flames were seen coming from a two-storey apartment building.

Kimberley Van Vliet and her husband ran to the scene to see that two adults with a toddler and a baby were trapped on the second floor.

  • Listen to their full account of the rescue on The Homestretch:

With flames and smoke filling the building, the father was holding his baby girl out of the window, desperate to save her from the fire.


Two adults and two children were rescued from the second floor of a burning apartment building in northeast Calgary early Friday. (CBC)

Van Vliet and her husband called 911 while another neighbour grabbed a seven-metre ladder to help the family escape the fire.

"We did not expect to see a family of four with an infant dangling out the window," she said.

"The young father there was holding the baby out the window saying, 'We need to drop her' and I was just screaming, 'Don't drop the baby, don't drop the baby.'"

When firefighters arrived the baby girl and toddler boy were already out of the burning apartment after being carried down the ladder to safety by other neighbours.

Everyone in the building got out safely.

The family, who neighbours say arrived recently from Mexico, is staying at a hotel.

Fire crews were able to quickly bring the flames under control. One unit was badly gutted and a second unit received minor damage.

Officials are still investigating, but they believe the fire started on an outside balcony.