May 3, 2014 4:24 pm

Fire crews douse insulation blaze at vacant Charles Camsell Hospital

Fire crews responded to an insulation fire at the old Charles Camsell Hospital Saturday, May 3, 2014.

Supplied, Gaelene Estlin

EDMONTON – Fire crews were called to the old Charles Camsell Hospital Saturday morning, after a blaze broke out on the top floor of the building.

Firefighters responded to the vacant building, located at 128 Street and 114 Avenue, around 10:30 a.m.

When crews arrived, smoke was coming from the roof of the building.

Captain Jim Wilk with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services says the blaze was sparked by maintenance workers who were cutting insulation away from the vents on the top floor of the building.

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“They were using a cutting torch and the insulation caught fire,” said Wilk.

The building was evacuated as crews worked to reach the smouldering insulation. Wilk says the fire took a bit of time to put out because the sprinklers in the vacant building had been dismantled.

“We had to manually get hose lines to top floor, that took quite a while,” he explained. “[The fire] took quite a while to get out because there was a lot of garbage up there and a lot of materials.”

About 24 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze. The Hazmat team was also called in as a precaution, as there was asbestos in the building.

“All of the asbestos was contained to bags that were sealed on the roof and in the basement. But… we just want to make sure our guys are safe,” said Wilk.

“We like go on safety, make sure we have enough guys, because of course — the eighth floor up there — that’s a lot of bottles and equipment we have to manually get up there.”

The fire has been deemed accidental. No injuries were reported.

The Charles Camsell Hospital was built in 1967 and closed in 1996. In 2008, an agreement was reached to redevelop the property, but the City of Edmonton say the building has sat largely undeveloped due to disputes between investors.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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