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More than a dozen people displaced after fire tears through Calgary apartment building

Click to play video: 'Nearly 20 still out of homes following Calgary apartment fire' Nearly 20 still out of homes following Calgary apartment fire
WATCH: Residents of a Calgary apartment building remain out of their homes after a fire swept through Saturday night. As Adam Toy reports, early action from a neighbouring business helped people and their pets escape unharmed – Aug 2, 2020

Approximately 20 people were left without a roof over their heads after a large fire engulfed part of a three-storey apartment building in Calgary on Saturday.

Fire crews responded to the blaze on Kensington Road just after 6 p.m.

Read more: 1 man dead after blaze at Bridgeland home: Calgary Fire Department

About 30 firefighters responded, aggressively attacking the fire from the outside before entering the building and dousing the remaining hot spots from within, officials said.

According to the Calgary Fire Department’s Central District Chief Innes Fraser, all occupants of the building self-evacuated but some pets had to be rescued.

The aftermath of the Kensington apartment fire in Calgary on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, one day after the blaze. Global News

Fraser said it appears the fire started outside of the building on a deck.

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“It did get called in initially as a deck fire or a barbeque fire. The marks on the wall indicate that would be it but I don’t want to jump to any conclusions. We’ll let the investigators do their work,” he said.

Read more: 2 people displaced by fire at downtown Calgary apartment building

“With the warm weather, people are out barbecuing and they’re forgetting some things they wouldn’t normally forget. So I want to remind everyone to be careful when using a barbecue or a firepit.

Crews responded to a Kensington apartment building fire in Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Global News

Jacob Whitford-Bender lives on the second floor of the building and said the fire spread quickly.

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“People started running up and down the stairs saying, ‘There’s a fire. Get out as fast as possible,’ like shouting that. Even then you couldn’t really smell or feel the heat or anything,” he said.

Read more: Calgary fire crews respond to back-to-back house fires on Saturday night

“A few seconds after that, you could start to see the smoke… Thirty seconds after that the kitchen was oppressively hot and that just permeated the entire apartment.”

Crews responded to a Kensington apartment building fire in Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Global News

An employee of the neighbouring gas station and U-Haul vendor was picking up her vehicle when she saw the fire develop.

“We saw a puff of black smoke. We pulled in,” Justice Marie Martin-Bergdahl said Sunday.

“We watched the barbecue go… and we started moving U-Hauls, screaming at people to get out of the building.”

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Crews responded to a Kensington apartment building fire in Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Global News

Another employee went into the apartment to make residents aware of the fire. Martin-Bergdahl and other coworkers started moving trucks that were parked next to the building, trying to prevent further damage.

“​If the U-Hauls would have gone [up], the gas tanker is right there,” Martin-Bergdahl said. “So a lot could have happened if it would have gotten more out of control.”

Fraser said occupants would not be able to get back inside the building Saturday night.

Fire investigators remained on scene on Sunday.

Crews responded to other fires Saturday in Falconridge, Prestwick and Sandstone. ​None had injuries, the CFD said.

Crews responded to a Kensington apartment building fire in Calgary on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020. Global News

– With files from Adam Toy

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