Editor’s note: This story originally stated the apartment building was located on Grandin Drive. It is located on Grange Drive. We regret the error.
Four people were taken to hospital on Wednesday after a fire in an apartment building in St. Albert, Alta.
According to the St. Albert fire department, firefighters were called to Gateway Square apartments on Grange Drive shortly after 1 a.m.
“As soon as they arrived on scene they could see they had an obvious fire,” platoon chief Charles Tye said.
“They had fire coming through the roof on the back of the building.”
The St. Albert fire department said the fire appears to have started in a third-floor suite.
At least three residents had to be rescued off balconies at the back of the building, Tye said, and more from the front.
“Our crews deployed ground ladders right away because they had people on balconies that needed to be rescued,” Tye said. “They were able to protect them from the exterior while they got them off the balcony, then they went to an interior attack.
“Our crews train quite a bit on being able to take people out windows and down ladders. Probably the most challenging thing is to instill confidence in the people that are trying to escape a burning building that we can get them down safely.”
EMS said its emergency responders assessed four patients on scene and transported one woman in her 30s to the University of Alberta Hospital in serious but stable condition. Three other women were taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in stable condition, according to EMS.
Members of the St. Albert RCMP were also called to the scene and went door to door to make sure everyone evacuated the apartment building.
Officers helped two people were unable to get out on their own.
All on-duty crews from St. Albert responded to the fire, including four fire engines and one ladder truck. Fire crews from Spruce Grove and Edmonton also responded.
Tye said the battle was considered “a good save.”
“It was a very dynamic fire and the guys had to move very quickly to control it,” he said.
“A couple of things that kind of indicate to us a good save is when we’re able to get here in a timely manner with enough crews to do application of water and rescue people at the same time. Then we’re able to limit the injury and the damage to the building and to people.”
Tye said the owner of the St. Albert Inn offered people rooms for the night. Permanent shelter is being worked on for residents as Tye said “they’re not going to be able to get back in the building any time soon.
“I would say that the third and fourth floor of the apartment building are heavily damaged and the back roof of this building has been burned completely off.”
The cause of the fire is not known at this time. St. Alberta RCMP officers are working with the fire department to determine the cause of the blaze.