May 17, 2019 10:05 am
Updated: May 17, 2019 2:26 pm

2 people hospitalized after fire consumes Holyrood rental unit in east Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Raw video sent to Global News shows people jumping into action to help rescue the people inside a Holyrood neighbourhood townhouse, which went up in flames Friday morning.


Two people were taken to hospital after fire broke out Friday morning at an apartment complex in east Edmonton, where the land is slated for redevelopment.

The fire broke out shortly after 6:30 a.m. in a two-story townhouse building along 85 Street near 93 Avenue.

Edmonton Fire Rescue said six fire trucks and about 24 firefighters arrived four minutes later to find an active fire. Smoke could be seen pouring out of one of the wood-frame buildings.

Before crews arrived people were escaping by jumping from windows and climbing down trees, Edmonton Fire Rescue acting district chief Willie Chabaniuk said, adding there were reports of neighbours jumping in to help.

“It was one of those fires that we don’t get that often, where we get residents literally jumping out of windows to save their own lives,” Chabaniuk said.

“We’re very impressed to hear that residents came to the aid of those who needed help in the early hours this morning.”

Fire broke out Friday morning at a townhouse rental complex along 85 Street near 93 Avenue in east Edmonton’s Holyrood neighbourhood. Friday, May 17, 2019.

Courtesy: Pam Newcombe

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One of those who helped was Charles McDonald, who lives across the street and heard yelling.

“I [took] a look out the window and I can see this woman climbing out of the second floor bedroom window onto the canopy and I [was] thinking, ‘What the hell is this?'”

McDonald heard the woman scream “fire” and saw smoke billowing out of the unit. Not even stopping to put on shoes, he ran outside and grabbed his ladder. By time he arrived a second woman was also waiting to be helped down.

Watch below: Two people were taken to hospital after a residential fire Friday morning in the Holyrood area. Kent Morrison has more of the blaze and those who stepped up to help.

The women were panicking about a third lady believed to still be inside, and McDonald said another man named Dale also jumped in to help. “He started kicking in the front door and by time we got the door open, we had heard that she was already out back.”

McDonald said Dale was “the real hero,” saying he ran inside the unit to help a man who was trapped. “He went inside and pulled this guy out.”

“If it wasn’t for that he’d have been toast.”

MacDonald and Chabaniuk both said after jumping into action, Dale just carried on with his day and went to work. “So we’re following up on that to make sure that he didn’t sustain any burns, and just to see that he’s ok,” Chabaniuk said.

Everyone inside managed to get out safely before firefighters arrived.

Alberta Health Services said paramedics checked out five adults on scene. Chabaniuk said they ranged from 18 to 61 years old.

A man and a women were taken to hospital in stable condition, but AHS did not disclose the extent of their injuries.

There was a cat and a dog in the home. The dog was found badly burned, and Chabaniuk said he rushed it to the VCA Canada Guardian Veterinary Centre (formerly known as the Guardian Veterinary Centre) on 99 Street. He didn’t have high hopes for the pet’s survival. The cat has not been found.

Chabaniuk said the fire stops and drywall between the units stopped the flames from spreading next door. He was hopeful neighbours would be able to return home later Friday afternoon.

WATCH BELOW: The Global 1 news helicopter was over an apartment fire near 85 Street and 93 Avenue in east Edmonton’s Holyrood area Friday morning.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but investigators were called in. The fire was brought under control around 7:30 a.m. and put out later in the morning.

Because of the fire, 85 Street was blocked off north of 93 Avenue for a few hours.

The property flanks the Valley LRT Line, which is currently being built along 85 Street.

The area is zoned to be redeveloped into Holyrood Gardens, a 1,200 unit residential complex spread over eight buildings that would be between four- and 25-storeys tall.

READ MORE: Edmonton City Council approves controversial Holyrood development

— More to come…

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