Fire destroyed a three-storey apartment building in Stony Plain, west of Edmonton around 6:45 p.m. Thursday night.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, said Rudy Zacharias, the communications coordinator the the Town of Stony Plain, adding that the fire is believed to have started on either the second or third floor.
"When the crews arrived on site, the fire was in the first and second unit on the second and third floors and the fire was moving eastbound rapidly with the wind," said Zacharias.
"By the time the fire crews got there, the fire was already through the roof and moving pretty quickly eastbound and was quickly out of control."
Zacharias said that fire crews are still trying to get the blaze under control, but that they expect to have it contained sometime this evening.
About 50 firefighters, pulled from Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Parkland County attended the blaze, supported by two very recently-acquired aerial fire trucks, said Zacharias.
The 24-unit building will be a complete write-off, he added.
Victims services on hand
All residents of the building have been accounted for, and there were no injuries.
The Stony Plain District Victim Services Unit and Red Cross are on hand assisting the building's residents, who are currently being taken care of at the neighbouring golf course.
A representative for the province’s emergency management team is also on hand.
Zacharias said that donation centres will be set up Friday morning to help those who lost their homes.
Residents in the second Sonora complex building untouched by the fire have not yet been permitted to return to their units, but Zacharias said they may be allowed to do so sometime later tonight.
‘Like a big flame on top of the roof’
Hundreds of people gathered to watch crews fight the fire.
Will McNickle was in his house nearby when he smelled smoke.
"I don’t know really know how it was started," he said. "I just came out, saw the blaze and within a matter of seconds the roof was gone."
"I heard [the fire truck]
coming and I looked outside my bathroom window and I could see the fire right away," said neighbour Jamie Friesen. "Like a big flame on top of the roof."
According to Friesen, one resident said that the building’s fire alarm has been going off all week.
"I know... the fire trucks were here during the evening Monday and Tuesday and some people said they even came during the daytime," he said.
Zacharias, however, was unable to comment on the accuracy of this account.