One person was taken to hospital after a fire broke out early Thursday morning at a three-storey walk up condo building in northeast Edmonton.
Fire crews were called around 3:30 a.m. to the Southern Belle Condominiums at 3720 118 Ave. in the Beverly area, where a ground floor suite was on fire.
“Minimal water damage, most of the fire damage was contained to the one suite,” Edmonton Fire Rescue district chief Bob Bend said. Police, EMS, transit and utility crews were also called in to assist.
Residents, wearing bathrobes and clutching frightened pets, waited on the sidewalk while crews dealt with the flames. ETS buses were also brought in for residents to wait in.
“Right now we have a number of evacuees from the building that are being housed in ETS buses until a emergency response team can come and assist with relocating them for the evening or assist them with their needs until we can get them back to their suites,” Bend said.
AJ, who lives across and down the hall from the suite that caught fire, was awake when the fire began.
“I was livestreaming and I heard my fire alarm go off and I took off my headset,” he told Global News.
Video of the livestream shows AJ playing a first-person shooter when the fire alarm goes off in the background.
AJ said he went out in to the hallway, which was full of thick, black smoke and smelled like burning plastic. He grabbed a fire exinguisher and tried to deal with the flames, but the extinguisher ran out before he could make a dent.
“I came back to my suite and told my roommate it was a real fire and we needed to get out.”
They grabbed a dog and cat, and left the building. AJ was checked out by paramedics and went to the hospital for a full checkup to make sure he was OK. He has a raspy throat from smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries.
He said he also saw another person being brought out on a stretcher, but couldn’t see if it was a man or a woman.
Neighbour Shirley, who moved in two weeks ago and lives next door to the suite that caught fire, was up late watching TV when the fire alarms went off.
“I was watching Cutthroat Kitchen and I thought their time was up – to be judged – and I thought the alarm went off!” she laughed, wrapped in a blue blanket while standing outside the building.
“But I waited a minute and it kept going and I thought ‘Oh my god, no.'”
Shirley said she checked the hallway but wasn’t able to exit there because of the smoke. Her son and his friend where inside their suite sleeping, so she went and woke them up. “So I says, ‘We have to go out the window, that’s all we can do is go out the window.'”
The three crawled out their ground-floor windows to escape the fire. “It smelt like tire burning,” Shirley said. “I didn’t know what to think except, ‘Get out.'”
The condition of the person sent to hospital is not known.
The fire was brought under control just after 4 a.m. The cause of the fire it not yet known.
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