3 people hospitalized after massive fire engulfs St. Albert seniors' residence
Fire erupted at the Citadel Mews West Continuing Care Facility just before 8 p.m.
Three people were hospitalized — and more than 160 seniors have been displaced — after a massive fire broke out at a seniors' residence in St. Albert, northwest of Edmonton Thursday night.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and were in serious condition, and a third person suffered minor lacerations, officials said, after fire engulfed the Citadel Mews West Continuing Care Facility just before 8 p.m.
The building is near the Sturgeon Community Hospital, between St. Albert Trail and Erin Ridge Drive, south of Erin Ridge Road. The fire forced the entire complex to be evacuated and saw firefighters from across the region called in to assist.
St Albert Mayor Cathy Heron said many of the displaced residents were living in the extended care wing of the facility.
"The priority will be finding space for every one of those residents and making sure they're cared for," Heron said in an interview Friday.
Heron, who was at the scene Thursday night, said it was the largest fire she had ever seen and watching residents evacuate the building was overwhelming.
She commended firefighters for their coordinated efforts to extinguish it and ensure residents were safe.
Heron said the offer of donations and care for the displaced residents has been overwhelming.
"I love my community and the residents, they have responded with their hearts, which they always do."
At least 167 seniors were displaced. Alberta Health Services said about 129 long term care residents and 38 designated supportive living residents were evacuated from the complex.
Those numbers don't account for residents of the independent living wing of the complex, AHS said.
The evacuated residents were relocated to the St. Albert Inn. Most were accommodated in hotel rooms and others were placed in available beds in other long-term care facilities in the region.
The city is working with Alberta Health Services to ensure residents are appropriately cared for and provided transportation, the city said in a news release.
Firefighters remained on scene throughout Friday morning, assessing extensive smoke and water damage to the property.
In a statement Friday, the city asked for residents to stay away from the scene during the investigation,
There's no word yet on the cause of the fire or a full estimate on the damages.
Jackson Brown, 17, said he spotted smoke and helped some people leave the building.
"All the alarms are going off and there was about four or five of us evacuating everyone, just going door-to-door trying to just get every one out," he said in an interview Thursday night. "Then the firefighters and police got here and of course helped us."
Fire at Citadel Mews in St. Albert. We will be providing updates. Video courtesy of Riley Heemeryck <a href="https://t.co/VPn635N0TM">pic.twitter.com/VPn635N0TM</a>—@JamieMalbeuf
Police officers were called to assist firefighters around 8 p.m. Officers blocked off nearby roads and helped residents evacuate the building.
Residents were transported by bus to a muster point in the Costco parking lot, RCMP said. The St. Albert Alliance Church has opened its doors to residents until others arrangements could be made.
Fire crews from St. Albert, Morinville, Spruce Grove, Edmonton and Strathcona County all helped at the scene. A spokesperson for Edmonton Fire Services said some of its firefighters assisted with the blaze.
According to the Christenson Communities website, the two Citadel Mews residences combined have about 175 units.
With files from Tricia Kindleman