Edmonton

Calmar fires that destroyed 3 homes likely arson

Fires in Calmar, southwest of Edmonton, destroyed three homes and damaged another Wednesday morning.

Investigators believe the fires deliberately set

(Dave Bajer/CBC)

Fires that destroyed three homes in the community of Calmar southwest of Edmonton Wednesday were caused by arson, investigators say.

Leduc RCMP said they were called to a fire at a home under construction in a subdivision at 5 a.m. 

 Four homes, two with people living in them, were on fire. Three were gutted and and a fourth damaged.

Police and firefighters helped all occupants get out safely with no one hurt.

 Justin MacKinnon said he, his wife and two children escaped with only the clothes on their backs. 

"Woke up to someone ringing my doorbell and knocking on the door, saying the house next door was on fire and we needed to evacuate out of there," he said. 

"Tried to save our house as best we could but it was too far gone."

MacKinnon is usually a person responding to fires, not fleeing them. He works as a firefighter with the City of Edmonton. 

"Tough to watch your house burn down," he said.  

Leduc County fire investigators told reporters they're confident the fires were a result of arson.

Leduc County Fire Marshal Brad Gurmin said the way the fires started is suspicious. 

"They're not really right beside each other," he said. 

"There was no wind this morning when the fire occurred, we've got some video showing the smoke going straight up with no wind. The chances of it being exposure, or a coincidence they both caught fire at the same time, are pretty slim."

Gurmin said there were reports of suspicious activity in the area prior to the fire. 

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