Dozens of people forced out by Fort Mac apartment fire

Dozens of people in Fort McMurray, Alta., have been forced from their homes following an apartment fire Saturday night.
Dozens of people were forced from their homes after a fire broke out in a Fort McMurray apartment building Saturday night, emergency officials say. (Teena Bishop Hamlyn, courtesy of MyMcMurray.com )

Dozens of people in Fort McMurray, Alta., have been forced from their homes following an apartment fire Saturday night.

Firefighters were called to the fire in the three-storey apartment at 200 Signal Road just before 9:00 p.m.

"I heard somebody yelling ‘Get out of the building, there’s a fire, evacuate the building, get out,' " said Marissa Marten, who lived on the second floor of the building.

"When I opened my door, all of a sudden flames just came rushing in my face, a big wall of flames came at me. All I did was I put my shoes on, and I booked it out of that apartment as fast as I could."

Emergency officials estimated as many as 50 people were removed from the building. At least 15 people had registered at an evacuation centre at Thickwood Heights School.

There are no reported injuries.

Marten said the smoke detector in her unit did not go off until she opened the door.

She said she only moved into the apartment two months ago and had not had time to buy insurance.

"I have nothing. I have nothing to my name. Only the clothes I have on my back."

"I just kept thinking to myself, what if I was still in there?"

Demolition begins on building

Joan Sampson, leasing manager of the building, said the 34 units were extensively damaged.

By Sunday evening, around half the units of Silin Court had been demolished. The municipality has declared the building structurally unsafe. (Ryan Jones)
"Everybody did get out, though, and that's great," Sampson said, adding she is now in the process of contacting tenants and trying to find space for them.

Later on Sunday, the Municipality of Wood Buffalo declared the building structurally unsafe. By the evening, Ryan Jones, a man living in the building next door, told CBC News around half the units had been torn down by an excavator.

Wood Buffalo municipality spokesperson Matthew Harrison said crews had the fire under control within an hour, but it wasn't extinguished until 5:30 Sunday morning.

"It was just a matter of keeping an eye on that. It's not as if it was a fire or blaze throughout the whole night," Harrison said.


  • A previous version of this story stated that around 100 people were removed from the building, based on numbers from emergency management workers. They have now revised that number and the story has been changed to reflect that.
    Dec 01, 1970 6:04 PM MT