Fire crews called twice to west Edmonton apartment building

Fire crews respond twice to west Edmonton apartment
WATCH ABOVE: About 50 people in west Edmonton were forced out of their homes Friday morning, twice. Firefighters went to a four-storey walkup and after the second call, some residents were upset. Fletcher Kent reports.

Residents of a west Edmonton apartment building were forced from their homes twice Friday morning when fire broke out in the four-storey building.

Fire crews were first called at 1:33 a.m. to Cambrian Place, a Boardwalk Rental Communities’ building just off 178 Street and 64 Avenue in the Callingwood area.

When they arrived, they saw smoke coming from the fourth floor.

“Supposedly [it was] a kitchen fire in the suite adjacent to mine, so my suite is on the other side,” resident John Robertson said. “And they put it out and then they left around 2:30 and now they’re back.”

Firefighters responded to the apartment again at around 5:40 a.m.

“Smoke came through,” Robertson said. “It must’ve been in the wall. It gradually smouldered for a few hours and popped out. Must have gone into the attic space.”

“Somebody had left the frying pan on the stove,” another resident named Greg said. “The big burner was just blazing. The microwave was on fire. The stove was on fire… I grabbed a fire extinguisher. I jumped back in. I thought I put out the entire fire. I had to get a breath of fresh air of course because I could hardly see. That was about 2:30.

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“Here it is 5:30, a quarter to six, everybody is banging on the doors. The fire is in the walls,” Greg said.

Fire officials confirmed the cause of the first fire was overheated cooking oil on a stove. But they are still investigating the cause of the second fire and if it was linked to the first.

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the second fire began in a fourth-floor suite and spread into the attic of the building.

A second alarm was declared at 5:49 a.m.

“This became a second alarm simply… because of the occupancy load here,” District Chief Dan Blackburn said. “We had a lot of people at risk, so as soon as we see flames and we have a four-storey apartment, we want to bring in more crews to make sure we get everybody out safely.”

The fire was declared out by 7:23 a.m. The 911 call came from a fourth-floor suite but fire officials aren’t saying if the fire was in the same suite as the first one.

The building has 28 suites, made up of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. About 50 people have been displaced, Blackburn said. ETS busses were brought in for them to sit in.

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“I need to go to work and I don’t know what to do,” said Sharon, a teenage resident who was awoken by the fire alarm. She didn’t know what was going on, but joined the rest of the residents outside.

READ MORE: $5.5M fire at west Edmonton apartment complex was arson

Back in February, fire ravaged another Boardwalk apartment building just a few blocks east. Fire investigators determined the Westridge Estates B apartment complex fire was arson.