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Crews responds to thick smoke, flames emerging from condo balcony in northwest Calgary

Calgary fire crews battle blaze at northwest condo complex
WATCH: Calgary fire crews evacuated a condo complex in the northwest after a fire. Lauren Pullen reports.

All 44 units of a northwest Calgary condo building across the street from Market Mall were evacuated after a fire on Tuesday morning.

When the Calgary Fire Department arrived in the 3700 block of 49 Street N.W. at around 10 a.m., smoke and flames were shooting off a fourth-floor balcony.

“Upon entering the fire suite, [crews] were met with immense heat, zero visibility and potential flashover conditions — when everything in a room bursts into flame,” the CFD said in a news release.

Firefighters quickly knocked down the blaze, the CFD said.

“We have these wonderful aerial ladders that can quickly access the higher levels, so it was a two-fold attack, both from the aerial and from inside, taking a hose up the four floors and fighting the fire that way,” said CFD public information officer Carol Henke.

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Early indications suggest that the fire started while someone was cooking with oil, she said.

“It is a very common type of fire that we attend one to two times every single day in the city of Calgary,” Henke explained.

The Calgary Fire Department responded to a northwest apartment suite fire on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
The Calgary Fire Department responded to a northwest apartment suite fire on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Tom Andriuk/Global News

The person inside the unit was able to self-evacuate and was assessed by paramedics for smoke inhalation, Henke said. No other injuries were reported.

Henke said the fire was contained to the unit but smoke damaged other suites.

The fire alarm worked, and an off-duty firefighter who was at home and lives next door to the affected suite went down the hall “banging on doors to inform people of the fire and encourage evacuation,” CFD said.

“According to reports, one person needed some convincing and encouragement to leave,” Henke said.

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She explained that fires double in size every 30 to 60 seconds, so every moment matters.

“Whenever there’s a fire in the building, just get out as quickly as possible because, as we know, fire spreads very quickly and it’s the smoke that’s so toxic and dangerous,” Henke said.