EDMONTON- Three homes were destroyed, and two others damaged, in a large residential fire in west Edmonton.
Fire crews were called to the area of Winterburn Road and 88th Avenue, in Lewis Estates, around 12:45 Sunday afternoon.
District Chief Lorne Corbett with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the fire started in one home and quickly spread to the two homes east of it. Two other neighbouring homes suffered siding and smoke damage.
“The fire just kept spreading,” said Matt Germsheid, who lives just two doors down from the house that initially caught fire. “It happened really, really fast.”
Dozens of area residents gathered outside and watched helplessly as the homes went up in flames.
“The smoke was getting pretty bad, and I think it was in about 10 minutes, the three houses were on fire,” said Jenn Couture, who lives across the street from the homes that caught fire.
“I actually thought it was going to devour the whole neighbourhood. It was that bad and that fast.”
Couture says a man and woman live in the home where the fire started with their two children. The mother was home alone when the fire broke out.
“She said she thought it was raining. She heard what she thought was rain drops and so she went outside and she saw the side of her house was on fire,” Couture explained.
“She just stood across the street with me and watched her house go down in flames.”
As the fire spread to neighbouring homes, Nathaniel LeBlanc began knocking on doors to make sure everyone was safe. He says a man, his wife and their dog came running out of one of the homes with nothing.
“We took them in our vehicle and just drove away from the fire,” he said. “They came out in a hurry; no shoes or nothing.”
LeBlanc says the family is in shock.
“I don’t know if it’s really set in that (their) house is gone yet.”
Dozens of firefighters worked through the afternoon to contain the fire, and keep it from spreading to more homes.
“They knocked it down very fast. Our crews were on scene very quickly,” Corbett said. “They did a defensive attack immediately. They got out their hand lines, they put up a water curtain and they saved those houses with the melted siding.”
Corbett says the winds were relatively light, and the situation could have been much worse.
No one was injured in the fire, and while Germsheid is thankful for that, he feels for those who have lost so much.
“It’s sad to see that people spend a really good dollar on a house to live in and within a matter of minutes it can be gutted and burnt down to the ground and everything you have is gone.”
Crews are still working to determine the cause of the fire.
The Red Cross has not been called in to assist because all of the affected residents have a place to stay.
Global News has received raw video of the fire from viewers, which can be seen below:
The following video was sent in by Amy Prenc-Perry:
Craig Lazaruk sent the following video:
The following video was sent in by Scott Nazarchuk:
Global News has a crew on scene and will have the latest information as it becomes available.