Apartment complex 'completely engulfed' in flames, police say

Calgary police closed roads in the area of 14th Street and 23rd Avenue S.W. as firefighters responded to a structure fire late Friday afternoon.

Roads are closed in the Bankview area as crews battle the fire

Residents were displaced Friday night as fire crews battled a large fire at an apartment complex in Calgary's southwest. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Fire crews are working to mitigate the damage caused Friday by a massive fire at a southwest apartment complex.

"We're still working to get control of the fire," said Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Carol Henke.

Police said the building was "completely engulfed" in flames. Roads were closed in the area of 14th Street and 23rd Avenue S.W. as fire crews responded.

"We're still in the firefighting stage, so we're not going to speculate on the extent of the damage," Henke said. "There is significant damage to the roof and the upper floor as a result of the fire and fire suppression efforts, but at this point we can't give an estimate of the damage."

Calgary Fire Department spokesperson Carol Henke said it was currently "way too early to tell" what the extent of the damage to the building is. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Fire crews were working "very, very hard" as of 7 p.m. to prevent the spread of the fire to adjacent buildings.

Henke said the building's future was unclear at this juncture, and it was too soon to know when residents could move back in.

"It really depends on everyone's insurance and the inspections on the building that will be done when the fire is out," she said. "Structurally, it could be safe. That's something that will be assessed when the fire is out."

'I don't know if we'll have anything left'

One of the residents displaced Friday night was Eric Stuppard, who has lived with his wife in the building for 20 years.

Stuppard said he had been lying down and having a nap when his wife ran into the room and shouted that there was a fire in the building.

"I wake up and look out the window and was able to see black, billowing clouds," Stuppard said.

Resident Eric Stuppard said he woke up from a nap to learn that his apartment building was on fire Friday night. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Stuppard rushed downstairs with his wife, pulling the smoke alarm as he ran.

With the fire still raging, Stuppard said he doesn't know what state his condo is at right now.

"I don't know if we'll have anything left. Clothes, anything," he said. "You know, it's Christmas. It's been a tough Christmas, anyways … so, it's tough. It's tough.

"But thankfully nobody's hurt. I think everybody's out." 

Stuppard said his cat is still inside the building, but he is hopeful that the pets left inside are safe.

Initial response

When crews initially arrived, flames were showing from the very top of the building, according to Battalion Chief Alistair Robin.

Crews started an interior attack and an exterior attack and evacuated the building.

Calgary fire responded to a multi-storey apartment building on 14th Street SW Friday afternoon. 0:10

"Crews are working diligently to stop it in the origin and make sure everyone gets out safely," Robin said. "No injuries have been reported so far."

The Calgary Emergency Management Agency arrived on scene to assist any individuals that needed a place to stay or help with immediate needs.

A transit bus was also brought on site to provide shelter for residents dispersed from the building.

Calgary police and emergency services closed roads in southwest Calgary as a fire raged at a housing complex. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

With files from Terri Trembath


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