Evacuation ordered of 'structurally unsafe' condo complex in Fort Saskatchewan

Residents of a 44-suite condo complex in Fort Saskatchewan evacuated from their homes Friday morning after city officials determined the build is structurally unsafe. 

Building has been subject of a series of complaints from residents

A condo complex near 100th Avenue in Fort Saskatchewan was evacuated Friday after it was declared structurally unsound. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)

Residents of a 44-suite condo complex in Fort Saskatchewan were ordered to leave their homes Friday morning after city officials determined the building was structurally unsafe.

The city's incident management team, the Red Cross and Alberta Health Services assisted residents of four-storey building at 9930 100th Ave.

The 16-year-old building has been the subject of a "series of complaints" from residents, Fort Saskatchewan spokesman Leo Urrutia told CBC News.

"It started with complaints, and engineers determined that it was structurally unsound and we had to initiate the order to evacuate," he said.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Brad Ward, director of protective services and director of emergency management, said residents reported problems to the condo management.

"The residents first reported that the flooring seemed to be somewhat spongy," Ward said. 

The condo building association called in a structural engineer. 

"The engineer thought that there were a number of the floor joists that were damaged or improperly constructed." 

After a week, the engineer determined the building was seriously "compromised" and in conjunction with the city's safety codes officer determined it had to be evacuated.

Ward said city officials decided Thursday night to evacuate the building, prompting some residents to question why officials waited until the morning to tell them to leave.
Tyler Hurkens and Terry Hall said police officers knocked on their door at 8 a.m. and gave them 30 minutes to grab essential items. (Genevieve Tardif/CBC)

Tyler Hurkens and Terry Hall live in the building and say they heard knocks at about 8 a.m Friday morning and opened the door to a bevy of police officers. 

"They said 'yeah, you have 30 minutes to pack all your personal belongings and get out, there's a problem with the structure — structural damage or structural issues — you guys have to get going until further notice,' " Hurkens said. 

Hurkens said he was home all evening and suggested someone could have told them Thursday night.

"You know all these other people in this city know about it beforehand yet we just find out this morning," Hurkens said.

The friends left with clothes.

"Kind of makes me mad that I don't find out until today and I live there, and they knew of these issues before now," Hall told CBC News. 

Hurkens is staying with friends and Hall with his parents. 

'Very troubling and trying ordeal'

Ward said he recognized the stress the situation created for people living there. 

"Residents have been very responsive to the input from the emergency management and we thank them for their understanding during this very troubling and trying ordeal."

Engineers were reinforcing the floor to allow them to continue their assessment.

Ward said he didn't know when the building might be deemed safe. 

"The order will stand until such time as the engineer provides the all-clear that they're good to re-enter the premise."

The city and the Red Cross were helping residents get accommodation at motels and hotels. 

An adjacent building at 9932 100th Ave. was not affected. That building was built two years earlier and is unrelated to the evacuated condo complex, according to the city's website.




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