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Fire at homeless residence in downtown Edmonton

EDMONTON – A man was taken to hospital following a fire at Dwayne’s Home in downtown Edmonton Wednesday afternoon.

“I live in the apartment across the way,” said Cherie, who lives in the building. “I saw smoke coming out of his window, and I called for a fire truck, and then he had come outside the window, he was holding on, and he couldn’t hold on any more. He let go, and I called back for an ambulance.”

“He fell all the way from the top, so I hope he makes it,” she said.  “I just hope he’s doing al-right. I don’t know, it’s pretty scary stuff.”

Firefighters and paramedics put the man on a stretcher and he was taken to a waiting ambulance. He was conscious at the scene. The extent of his injuries are not known.

“I know that he was in the building and he was taken away by EMS with undetermined injuries,” said District Fire Chief Randy Shakura, with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

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Shakura said the man was the only person injured.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, fire crews were called to the building at 100 Avenue and 102 Street.  A second alarm was called at about 3:20 p.m., and about forty fire personnel –  14 units – were on scene.

Crews were seen fighting a fire in a suite that appeared to be on the third floor of the residence.

 Watch below: Raw video of fire crews battling a blaze at Dwayne’s Home downtown Edmonton

“All I heard was the fire alarm go off and then I ran out the door and saw half the hallway engulfed in smoke in five minutes,” said resident Andrew Smith. “I quickly got outside as fast as I could.”

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“The smoke was billowing out, billowing out,” said Debby Desbiens, who was staying at Dwayne’s Home.

Fire at Dwayne’s Home, at 100 Avenue and 102 Street, on Feb. 12, 2014 . Morris Gamblin, Global News
Fire at Dwayne’s Home, at 100 Avenue and 102 Street, on Feb. 12, 2014 . Morris Gamblin, Global News

Dwayne’s Home was converted from a hostel to a transitional housing facility for homeless and lower income Edmontonians in Feb. 2013.

“At this time, there were about 130 people living here, and they’ve all been evacuated,” said Shakura.

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He said, because of work that needs to be done on the electrical system, residents won’t be allowed home for a few days. The Office of Emergency Management is helping arrange temporary accommodations.

“We know that the fire started on the south end of the building,” said Shakura. “At this time, it’s under investigation and we’re just trying to figure out exactly where the fire started and how much damage there was.”

“We’re still trying to figure out the extent of the damage and that’s going to really tell us how long these people are going to be out of this building.”

Two Edmonton Transit buses were also used to keep residents warm while the fire crews responded.

Watch below: Ross Neitz reports on a fire at Dwayne’s Home

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