More than a dozen fire crews were called to southwest Edmonton early Tuesday morning to battle a blaze at three homes under construction in the Chappelle Gardens neighbourhood.
The call came in at 5:07 a.m. and seven fire crews were dispatched to the area of Cooper Bend and Cooper Link.
District Chief Ed Pitman said three homes were on fire when crews arrived. He said all the homes had been sided and were in the process of having their basements poured.
“They had one house fully involved and one on either side, which were just starting to get fully involved,” Pitman said.
“So you can see in the middle there, the house that’s down is the one where initially the fire started.”
The fire was upgraded to a second alarm just after 5:20 a.m., at which time six more fire crews were dispatched.
Pitman said crews took a defensive attack to the fire.
“In this situation, we had information there was nobody in the houses so we don’t bother with interior attack right away — we go defensive because they’re fully involved and it’s too dangerous for our guys to go in,” he explained.
“So we do what’s called a defensive fire attack and cover exposures and make sure the houses on either side don’t go up.”
Homes in the area that were occupied were evacuated as a precaution.
The fire was brought under control just after 6:30 a.m.
Doris Kallechy lives in the area. She had her window open and heard crackling at around 5 a.m.
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“I got up and I saw, it was completely enveloped,” she said. “I ran and got my daughter… and we ran. And she’s like, ‘Let’s get out of the house and call 911!’
“By the time they got here, the one house was toast already.”
Kallechy said the entire ordeal was a bit nerve-racking.
“It’s quite scary, especially when you’re so close to it and not knowing how it started.”
Aimee Lafranchise, who also lives in the neighbourhood, said she woke up to the sound of fire trucks. She and her husband went to make sure their three kids were OK.
“I got to my son’s room — he’s six years old — and I open up his curtains and it’s just balls of blaze everywhere. My heart just stopped. I’ve got three kids and I was just really nervous. I was panicking,” she said, adding fire crews appeared to bring the situation under control pretty quickly.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, nor is the extent of the damage.
The neighbourhood is located north of 41 Avenue Southwest and west of 141 Street Southwest.
It’s been a busy few days for fire crews. On Monday, firefighters were called to two early morning house fires — one in the city’s southeast and one in west Edmonton.
One person was found dead in the home in west Edmonton. Police said the person’s death appeared not to be criminal in nature.
One family was displaced by the fire in southeast Edmonton, which extensively damaged a fourplex.