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WATCH: Fire crews battle massive fire south of downtown

CALGARY- A massive fire broke out in a four story condo building under construction south of downtown, just before noon Saturday.

Fire crews battled the blaze all afternoon in the building near Centre Street and 17th Avenue SW.

EMS says at this point they are not aware of any injuries as a result of the fire.

A passerby noticed flames and smoke coming from the building and contacted fire crews.

Calgary Fire says 911 received multiple calls due to the amount of fire and smoke.

Fire crews used aerials, elevated platforms and master streams to fight and contain the fire.

Fire crews got a good handle on the fire midway through the afternoon.

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No word yet on what started the blaze, Calgary Fire Department continues to investigate. Anyone with photos or video is asked to email fire investigator Brad McDonald at brad.mcdonald@calgary.ca.

Carol Henke from the Calgary Fire Department said there were no reports that anyone was inside the building at the time of the fire and no injuries from the fire have been reported.

Master streams were set up to protect other buildings in the area.

“Because it’s a building under construction, there’s a lot of openings and a lot of wood so the fire can spread very quickly,” Henke said.

Calgary Fire said it’s very important for people to stay away from the area to avoid any dangers.

All the buildings surrounding the condo that was on fire were evacuated.

Debris from the fire was landing four to five blocks away from the burning building.

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Big embers shot out several blocks after the fire, resulting in some flare-ups on nearby properties.

At least two blocks around the building were blocked off in every direction. Commuters were encouraged to avoid the area, which remained very smoky late into the afternoon.

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Rob Holly witnessed the beginning of the fire and said he heard a propane tank going off.

“It looks like they left a propane torch or something like that. To the best of my knowledge it was all burning in the centre. It took a while for it to get going but it didn’t take long to burn after it started I can tell you that,” Holly said.

“It started right on the roof and it burned down and then it went through the top structure,” Holly said. “Once [fire crews] got here, the propane tanks were already blowing up on the roof, you could hear them all the way down to the corner.”

Rena Wallace lives in building next door and had to evacuate.

“I saw flames on the roof so I called 911 and gave them the information and then I heard sirens coming,” Wallace said. “It started out pretty small but then it started spreading right away–really quickly.”

Wallace said she then heard explosions.

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“When that started happening, we gathered a bunch of stuff up and came outside because there was a big propane tank on the ground and we thought if that goes, then our windows are going to too,” Wallace said.

“We could feel the heat through our windows and it hadn’t spread to the side of the building yet. It was good to get out.”

The Calgary Fire Department continues to investigate what caused the fire.

Henke cautioned Calgarians to be very careful with smoking materials as the weather in Calgary gets warmer and more dry.

She said that this type of nice weather is prime for residential fires and grass fires.

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