Two people were taken to hospital to be treated for minor smoke inhalation Friday morning as crews worked to douse a structure fire in central Edmonton.
At around 4 a.m., firefighters were called to a fire at a building in the area of 106 Avenue and 97 Street. The affected building houses the Italian Bakery, although fire crews on scene Friday morning could not yet say where or how the fire started.
District chief Gerald O’Connor with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said 28 firefighters from seven crews were dispatched on the first alarm. They arrived to heavy, thick smoke billowing from the building.
“It’s a two-storey structure. It looks like it’s a bakery business of some type. It’s heavily damaged at this time. Very stubborn fire,” he said.
O’Connor said the fire spread to the basement, main floor and second floor of the building. Fire crews were able to contain the blaze to the one building.
O’Connor said he believes the people who were taken to hospital lived in apartments above the bakery.
He said the cold weather caused a bit of trouble for firefighters.
Fire investigators remained on scene Friday morning to determine the cause. There is no word yet on a damage estimate.
In February 2016, the Italian Bakery’s other Edmonton location — in Beverly — was destroyed by fire.
The bakery reopened its doors in April 2017.
John and Rochelle Cherniawski ventured out for the first time in a long time on Friday, as they have been staying home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
They were shopping at the Italian Bakery’s 118 Avenue location, hoping to get some items for the upcoming Easter weekend.
They learned of the fire at the bakery’s 97 Street location and said it was devastating to hear.
“It’s surreal to us right now, but we still want to support local and come out when we can,” Rochelle said.
“You pray for the family to keep on going and wish them the best,” John added.
“It’s family — all one family built this and they’ll build the other one again.”