Clareview condo fire like 'dynamite,' says deputy chief

Firefighters battled a major fire at a condo complex in northeast Edmonton for more than three hours Friday.

Up to 100 suites may be beyond repair, leaving more than 200 homeless

Fire caused extensive damage to a condo complex in northeast Edmonton Friday. (CBC)

Firefighters battled a major fire at a condo complex in northeast Edmonton for more than three hours Friday.

When crews arrived around 4:50 p.m., the top floor of the complex was already fully in flames when crews arrived, said district chief Brian Lees.
Darren London watched as fire and smoke advanced on his suite. (CBC)

It's believed the fire started on a third or fourth-floor balcony before entering the unprotected attic space and expanding the length of the building, Lees said.

"Essentially what we have here is a high rise on its side," he said. "These four-storey condominiums are massive."

Once the fire enters the attic, it's very difficult to extinguish, he said.

"It's dynamite, a real problem to control." 

The residents of nearly 100 suites in the complex were evacuated from their homes. No resident was injured.

A reception centre was set up at the Clareview Recreation Centre.

Darren London was shopping at Safeway, when he heard someone say smoke was coming from a building down the street. 

"I rush out and finally get down here and it's my building that's on fire."

He watched as the flames crept closer and closer to his top-floor suite, he said.

It's uncertain how many people are left homeless. (CBC)
"The smoke was just pouring out from the roof above my place. 

"It's scary. I'm just glad I wasn't in there — me or my wife."

Lees believes most if not all the suites are now uninhabitable.

He congratulated firefighters for fighting a tough fire in difficult conditions.

"This could have been a lot worse," he said.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene for heat stress, Lees said.

Manning Drive was closed between 137th and 144th Avenues and expected to remain closed until the late evening.

At least 10 trucks and 60 firefighters responded to the call. 


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