More than a hundred people are left picking up the pieces after being forced out of their homes by a fire that tore through an Edmonton condo building yesterday afternoon.
Darren London is among him. He had been at a local grocery store when he heard someone mention a fire at nearby building.
When he got back to his Clareview condo complex, he was shocked to see flames eating away at the roof of his top-level suite.
"The roof collapsed in right over my bedroom. When I got here, there was just smoke coming up above the roof of my place," he said.
"Ìt's just devastating. It's surreal. You never think something like this could happen to you."
The fire forced firefighters to evacuate the entire building. While the roof and fourth-floor suffered the brunt of the damage, all of the building's 106 suites suffered some water or fire damage.
London was lucky enough to have friends to take him and his wife in, giving them a place to stay and providing them with clothing. Others are receiving help from the Red Cross, which will provide food, clothing and shelter to the victims of the fire for 72 hours.
While he is thankful that his wife and neighbours escaped the fire unscathed, London said he was devastated to think about what they may have lost in the fire, including irreplaceable items from the couple's wedding last year.
"You just lose so much, you lose so many memories," he said.
"You think, 'oh, I can't do that, because I lost this in the fire.'"
16 million in estimated damages
Fire inspector Capt. Kevin Bureau said the fire was a hard one to get under control and that high temperatures and strong winds made the job all the more difficult.
"It could have been a lot worse," he said.
No one was killed in the blaze, although two firefighters received injuries due to high temperatures, not only due to the flames but also the hot weather.
"The best way I could describe it is go grab your skidoo-suit and go run around the block four or fives times on a hot day," he said. "It's not too comfortable."
Bureau said the building was likely a loss with early estimates pegging the damage at $16 million.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Bureau said the fire department is still looking for 28 people who have not been accounted for, although he said there is no indication that they were inside the building. He asked anyone who lived in the building or owned a suite to contact the Red Cross if they have not already done so.