Condo fire was deliberately set, says developer

Security footage shows a person breaking into the south Edmonton condo building and setting one or more fires, says the developer.

Damage estimated to be $5 million

Residents in the south Edmonton neighbourhood were woken up around 3:30 a.m. Saturday by a loud bang - likely the sound of the Essence condo building collapsing. (Courtesy: Jason Cruse)

Security footage shows the fire that destroyed a south Edmonton condo building early Saturday was deliberately set, says the developer.

The four-storey development near 10th Avenue and 173rd Street burned to the ground around 3:30 a.m., alarming neighbours and triggering the evacuation of eight nearby homes.

Fire crews had the blaze under control within an hour however, the ruins continued to smoulder for much of the day.

In a statement released Saturday evening, Clay Hamdon with Cove Properties said cameras installed around the Essence development in Windermere recorded someone breaking into the building and setting one or more fires inside.

Hamdon said the company’s security team called 911, but added the fire was too advanced to contain by the time emergency crews arrived on scene.

"Cove Properties is devastated at the senseless loss of our Essence condo building in Windermere South, but grateful there are no reports of injury,” he wrote.

Of the 79 units within the building, 50 had been sold, with the first tenants set to move in during August.

Hamdon said the company plans to begin rebuilding immediately.

The developer is now working with police and fire departments as they continue their investigation.

A fire official has estimated the damage to the structure to be about $5 million.