January 8, 2018 7:44 am
Updated: January 9, 2018 5:37 pm

2 under-construction homes destroyed by fire in north Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: An early morning fire destroyed two homes under construction in north Edmonton. Now fire investigators are sifting through what's left, trying to determine how it started. Kendra Slugoski reports.

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Two homes being built in north Edmonton’s Crystallina Nera neighbourhood were destroyed by fire early Monday morning.

Fire crews were called to Crystallina Nera Drive and 77 Street at around 2:30 a.m., arriving in the newer neighbourhood to find flames shooting from both homes.

Two homes being built near Crystallina Nera Drive and 77 Street in north Edmonton were destroyed by fire early Monday morning. January 8, 2018.

Dave Carels, Global News

“They were both fully engulfed,” District Chief Leonard Mushtuk said. “One was framing on two floors, the other one I couldn’t tell you, it was already down,” he added.

Both homes collapsed in on themselves, and by the time the fire was out all that was left was the foundations.

The homes were being built in a newer neighbourhood near the north stretch of Anthony Henday Drive, and Mushtuk said mud and other slipping hazards posed a challenge for crews.

“The other issue was a large propane tank that was near the building and that was a concern, so firefighters were quick to get a water stream between the fire and the propane tank, cooled it and shut off the tanks.

“Our HAZMAT team responded and checked out the condition of the tank and ensured that it wasn’t overheating,” he added.

Late Monday afternoon, a representative with Daytona Homes confirmed the company was building the homes. One was sold and the other was an unsold inventory home. Both houses were framed and ready for drywalling. If the homes need to be torn down, the company said their construction could be delayed by four months. The representative said the family that purchased the one home will likely be given the choice of moving to another lot because of the delay.

Daytona Homes’ safety coordinator is in contact with fire investigators the representative said, adding someone checked to ensure there was no damage at the homes on Saturday after another contractor reported a suspicious fire nearby. No damage was apparent on Saturday.

Two homes being built near Crystallina Nera Drive and 77 Street in north Edmonton were destroyed by fire early Monday morning. January 8, 2018.

Dave Carels, Global News

Excel Homes developer Corey Lapointe isn’t surprised to hear about the early morning fire. One of his nearby properties was set ablaze last Friday night or Saturday morning.

“We walked into one of our houses under construction, we saw that it was smouldering and smelled of smoke,” Lapointe said.

“There was about a three-foot hole in the floor, through some floor joists and up an exterior wall on the inside. Obviously they didn’t get it going, because it should have taken right off and burnt down. But we were able to put it out with some snow and then we contacted the city police.”

Two homes being built near Crystallina Nera Drive and 77 Street in north Edmonton were destroyed by fire early Monday morning. January 8, 2018.

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Lapointe said last month, some appliances were stolen from homes they were about to turn over to the owners. He said thieves targeted a showhome as well.

“One of the other builders, the same night, lost all of the furniture out of a staged spec house.”

Lapointe said tools and equipment also go missing from job sites. Still, he said crime happens on construction sites all around the city.

“It seems to be everywhere across Edmonton, what we’re dealing with. It just seems when the economy goes down, it seems to be that this is what’s happening everywhere. Just that it’s unfortunate – everyone works hard to get these houses done and then this happens.”

“I don’t think it’s necessarily this area having the problem. It’s just, unfortunately, there seems to be major instances — just like the fires.”

The cause has yet to be determined.

No one was injured in the fire.

Damages are estimated to be $300,000 for both homes.

— With files from Sarah Kraus and Phil Heidenreich

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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