Rutherford Landing fire caused by arson, says city

Investigators say arson was behind the massive blaze that tore through a south Edmonton condo development last month.

Condo complex blaze caused $20 million in damages

About 80 firefighters were called out to southwest Edmonton early in the morning on Sept. 29 to battle the three-alarm blaze that levelled three buildings. (Courtesy: Alexis Marie Chute)

Investigators say arson was behind the massive blaze that tore through a south Edmonton condo development last month.

More than 80 firefighters were called out to the Rutherford Landing development near 119th Street and 21st Avenue on Sept. 29, but were unable to stop the fire from spreading, destroying all three condos under construction.

All three buildings were levelled by the blaze, causing $20 million in damages making it one of the costliest fires in Edmonton history, according to the city.

"The initial onset of the fire was quite huge," said fire investigator Capt. Shayne Page. "So base on that, yes, it caused the fire to spread quickly."

Fire investigators aren't revealing what caused the fire but say it started in the east building.

Fire Rescue is working with arson detectives to investigate the blaze. There are no suspects and investigators have no leads. 

The heat of the fire caused the front of Felix Vizcarra's house to completely melt off.

"It's kind of unfair," he said. "'Cause most of us now are just living not with insurance coverage. Like I'm paying for a hotel right now."

Fire officials say about a third of all fires in Edmonton are deliberately set.

In 2012 alone, there were 204 reported arson fires, resulting in $23 million in damages.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.