About two dozen southwest Calgary residents couldn’t sleep at home Monday night after a fire destroyed a “multi-storey residential construction site” and damaged neighbouring apartment buildings.
Fire officials received a call about the blaze at 16 Avenue and 16 Street S.W. at about 7:40 p.m.
They received numerous calls about the fire that could be seen from blocks away; some callers reported flames up to 30 metres high. Officials said at least one suggested the blaze was “threatening apartment buildings next door.”
“When fire crews arrived on scene, a second alarm was immediately called for additional resources due to the volume of fire,” the Calgary Fire Department (CFD) said in a statement. “The source building, which was fully involved, had already started to partially collapse shortly after CFD’s arrival.
“Fire had also spread to the apartments on either side.”
Fire officials said the blaze was under control at around 9 p.m. but crews were expected to remain at the scene through the night.
The CFD said one person was treated by paramedics but did not have to be taken to hospital. Firefighters also rescued a dog from a neighbouring apartment.
Officials said the “source building” was completely destroyed by the fire and neighbouring apartment buildings “sustained significant damage.”
“Residents of these buildings will be displaced for some time until repairs can be made,” CFD said.
About 200 people gathered to watch firefighters battle the flames.
Global TV employee Michael Black said he was on a C-Train when he saw the smoke and went to see what was happening.
“All you could see was a plume of black smoke just billowing into the air,” he said. “There were probably 30 or 40 firefighters fighting the fire when I got here.”
Dozens of people in the area were forced to leave their homes as crews battled the blaze.
Nadia Hamilton lives two doors down from where the fire started. She ran out of her home in her pyjamas and housecoat.
“My dad started shouting, ‘Fire! Fire! Everyone get out!’ We ran out of the house and the heat was just unbearable,” she said.
Fire officials said they were still investigating what caused the fire.
Anyone with information or pictures is asked to email them to CFD at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>.
View photos of the fire below:
-With files from Tracy Nagai.