5 killed in northeast Calgary house fire on Saturday

Five people are dead after a house fire in the northeast of Calgary early Saturday morning.

Fire crews evacuated more than a dozen neighbouring homes while fighting 2nd blaze in Royal Oak

Tim Moerike woke to the sound of flames and rushed out to help his neighbours who live next door to the fatal fire. (Andrew Brown/CBC)

Five people are dead after a house fire in northeast Calgary early Saturday morning. 

Calgary fire chief Steve Dongworth said crews arrived at 104 Falchurch Cres. N.E. around 1:24 a.m. and found flames and smoke pouring from the home and spreading to a neighbouring house.. 

Crews battled the fire and once the blaze was under control, entered the home "and immediately started locating casualties."

Initially four casualties were brought out of the home, but crews soon discovered a fifth.

"This was a difficult call, I can't recall the last time we had this many fatalities in a fire," said Dongworth.

Neighbour's house

George McGregor's house was damaged in the fire and he was away when he got the news. 

"I was in Toronto for a meeting and I got a phone call at about three o'clock Toronto time saying that the house was on fire," he said. "Kind of a rough wake-up call. So I just made my way to the airport and made my way home."

His wife and daughter were in the house at the time and neighbours knocked on their door to get them up.

As for his damaged house, he's remaining calm. 

"It's only stuff. That's the most important. It's only things, so they can be replaced, they can be fixed."

Woken in the night

Neighbour Tim Moerike said McGregor, along with his wife and kid, are like family to him.

"I just heard the crash of a window breaking and saw the flames and took off running to get our friends out of their house next door," he said. "It was just, 'go', there wasn't any time to think, it was just 'go.'"

He woke up McGregor's wife and daughter by knocking on the door, but said the main fire was out of control by that time and there was nothing he could do. 

Not much is known about the victims at this time other than they are all adults and thought to be male.

Both Moerike and McGregor said police have been to the house several times, with Moerike calling it a "party house." Police have not confirmed whether they were familiar with the residence. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation and Dongworth said it will be some time before the department releases its findings.