Massive fire destroys more than a dozen unfinished condos in Cochrane

Crews battled a major fire early Wednesday in Cochrane in a new residential development. The blaze started just after 2 a.m.

Firefighters called for help from Calgary and Rocky View County

Flames were visible from all over town at the height of the fire, said Cochrane Fire Chief David Humphrey. (Chris Steenbergen)

A major fire destroyed several homes that were still under construction in Cochrane early Wednesday morning.

Fire crews were called to the 100 block of Fireside Bend in the town northwest of Calgary at about 2:18 a.m., said Cochrane fire Chief David Humphrey.

The size of the blaze prompted crews to call for assistance from Calgary and from Rocky View County. 

"We requested mutual aid right away, so we had two county engines come to assist us. We also requested a city of Calgary aerial truck," he said.

More than a dozen residences were destroyed. Two partially constructed buildings with multiple residences in each were completely levelled, and three completed homes were badly damaged by the fire. 

Only two people were living so far in the affected buildings, and they got out safely along with their pets, Humphrey said.

Jeremiah Steiven, who lives across the street, was sleeping when his wife woke him up to say she had heard a boom.

"The heat, when you opened the front door, you could feel it. It was instantly like you were standing in front of a bonfire," he said.

The fire also scorched several vehicles parked on the street and damaged homes across from the blaze.

A major fire early Wednesday morning destroyed several residences in Cochrane that were still under construction. (Reid Southwick/CBC)

"It's a big wooden box, so when it burns, it burns with an intense magnitude," Humphrey said.

Two firefighters suffered steam burns but did not have to go to hospital. 

Several residences along the street were also evacuated, but Humphrey said they will likely be able to return later in the day.

Calbridge Homes, the developer of the Vantage Fireside townhome project, said in a statement the company is relieved everyone got out safely.

It's believed the fire began in one of the buildings under construction, the company said. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The intense fire also destroyed some vehicles parked on the street and damaged homes across the street from the blaze. (Reid Southwick/CBC)
The fire destroyed more than a dozen townhouse units that were in varying stages of completion. (Reid Southwick/CBC)