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Fire damages west Edmonton townhomes under construction

Click to play video: 'Fire rips through west Edmonton townhome complex for 2nd time'
Fire rips through west Edmonton townhome complex for 2nd time
WATCH ABOVE: For the second time in as many years, a west Edmonton townhouse complex has caught on fire. Both fires started in the middle of the night. Sarah Kraus has the details – Aug 17, 2016

For the second time in under two years, townhomes being built on a west Edmonton property were damaged by fire early Tuesday morning.

Firefighters were called just before 1 a.m. to the complex on 160 Street, just north of Stony Plain Road, in the Britannia Youngstown neighbourhood. Crews arrived to find flames shooting from the roof of the building, which appeared to be in the framing stage.

“It was fully involved, so there’s visible flames from the upper stories and from under the roof itself. So reaching estimated about 20 feet in the air,” explained Edmonton Fire Rescue Acting District Chief Shirley Benson.

“Fire crews responded and initiated a second alarm,” Capt. Murray Steedsman explained. “Approximately 10 rigs and 40 firefighters responded.”

Area resident Shawn Burnstick-Williams was awoken by the commotion and went to investigate, stopping half a block from the fire to watch.

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“It was quite big, I mean when I first got here, you could feel the heat. It flared up.”

Fire crews were called to a townhouse complex at 10113 -160 Street in west Edmonton, where an under-construction triplex went up in flames early Tuesday morning. August 16, 2016. Supplied

Benson said the intensity of the fire was problematic, but crews managed to stop it from spreading to nearby buildings.

Paul Baird was walking in the area when he saw the shooting flames and huge plumes of smoke from several blocks away.

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“It looked like the roof of the building was totally engulfed,” he said. “And then it started to almost carry over to the other building. Then a whole bunch of fire trucks came up to try get it from the side, and then they brought the crane over to spray it down from the top because it looked like it was really trying to spread from the side there.”

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The fire was brought under control an hour later.

“The crews did a tremendous job in ensuring there was minimal damage to the building behind it and to the one under construction, all things given,” said Benson.

“Under construction obviously there isn’t as many fire stops or drywall to slow it down so it can tear through there pretty quick.”

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“It really looked like it was all in the roof of the building,” added Baird. “It was really weird too, because the building is an empty building, like you can see the siding’s not done up or anything.”

Fire investigators were called to the scene. The extent of the damage and cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

A neighbouring building suffered some exterior damage so residents were evacuated as a precaution.

While there were no injuries, Burnstick-Williams said he felt badly for his displaced neighbours.

“You could see the fire damage on their home and you could hear a couple windows breaking out. They got hit with the hose so there’s probably water damage.”

This is the second fire at that complex in less than two years.

“This is the second fire, so it’s a little concerning. It’s the same place.”

Burnstick-Williams said all the neighbours were talking about what the chances were of two fires happening at the same complex and at the same time of night – both while under construction.

READ MORE: Red Cross called in following early morning condo blaze in west Edmonton

On October 24, 2014, five people and a dog were left homeless after another townhomes triplex under construction went up in flames, causing extensive damage to the already-finished unit next door where the people were living.

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WATCH BELOW: (October 24, 2014) Five people were forced from their homes by fire that destroyed one triplex and damaged another. Fletcher Kent reports.

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