Early morning fire rips through east Edmonton apartment complex

More than 30 people were forced from their homes Monday morning as a fire ripped through an east Edmonton apartment building.

One resident says she heard a loud explosion before the fire

The cause of the Monday morning apartment fire remains under investigation. (CBC)

More than 30 people were forced from their homes Monday morning as a fire ripped through an east Edmonton apartment building. 

Firefighters and emergency crews have been at the scene near the corner of 73rd Street and 101st Avenue since 5:30 a.m., police said.

At the peak of the fire, the entire building at 7314 101 Ave. was fully engulfed, and part of the roof has since collapsed. 

All six units in the two-storey walk-up have been evacuated and crews continue to douse hot spots. 

One resident, Leah Strawberry, said she heard a loud explosion just before the fire.

"The walls vibrated and the lights started flickering," she said. "We went outside to see what was going on and there was a bunch of smoke going off."

Strawberry said another explosion happened in the building about six weeks ago but nothing serious happened then.

Leah Strawberry and her brother, Caldon Courtoreille, have been left homeless by the fire. (Nola Keeler/CBC)

She didn't think Monday's fire would turn out to be as destructive as it was.

"I asked my boyfriend before we left if we should have grabbed anything and he was like 'No, it's going to be OK,' so I locked the door and we left," she said.

Now Strawberry is left with only the clothes she was wearing, and nowhere to live.

Because of the ongoing emergency response, 101st Avenue, between 71st Street and 75st Street, is shut down in both directions.

The road closure is expected to last for several hours and drivers are asked to avoid the area.

There have been no reports of injuries.
Nearly 30 people were evacuated from this south end apartment building after a fire ripped through the property early Monday morning. (Nola Keeler/CBC)