Three homes were destroyed and another left with heat damage after a duplex in southeast Edmonton’s Charlesworth neighbourhood caught on fire on Sunday night.
The fire broke out shortly after 10:30 p.m. on 62 Street, near 6 Avenue.
Neighbour Gary Crowe was watching TV when he heard a loud explosion.
“I jumped up, ran to my window to see what was going on,” he said. He saw what he thought was a vehicle fire two doors down, so he grabbed a few belongings and ran outside.
A large crowd of residents watched as fire crews battled the flames.
“I could see, this time, there were flames — the garage was on fire, the house was on fire, and I was just wondering if everybody was safe. There were people running around. It was pretty scary at that point,” he said.
Crowe said he got into his car and moved it down the street, just in case the fire spread.
“The flames were so intense. Even across here you could feel the heat. Across the street. It was unbelievable.”
Another neighbour heard the boom, and watched as flames consumed the home in a matter of minutes.
“Everybody was saying, ‘Where’s the firetrucks?’ But seriously, they didn’t realize how fast this fire really started. Within a couple of minutes, it was totally engulfed,” Irena said.
Edmonton Fire Rescue district chief Martin Prins said the duplex was fully involved on both sides by the time firefighters arrived, which was about six minutes after receiving the 911 call.
“And as you can see, the damage is severe. So yeah, the fire was definitely rolling,” he said.
The flames consumed both sides of the duplex, and spread to a neighbouring home.
“Wind was coming from the south and it spread the fire to a suite to the north of it. Has a fair amount of damage there as well.”
Prins said all residents made it out safely. The fire was brought under control at midnight Monday.
Three homes were left uninhabitable: both units of the affected duplex and half of the neighbouring duplex. Edmonton Fire Rescue said the unit on the other side of the original structure sustained minor heat damage.
Edmonton police responded to the scene to help with crowd control. Prins said EPS was working with fire investigators to determine the cause. A damage estimate has yet to be completed.
A spokeswoman for Edmonton Fire Rescue said the fire is “not being treated as suspicious at this time.”