Editor’s note: This story originally stated the fire was in the area of 72 Street and 86 Avenue. However, the correct location is 81 Avenue. We regret the error.
Fire crews said two people were rescued from a basement suite as firefighters battled a blaze at two homes in east Edmonton Monday morning.
A spokesperson with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said firefighters were called to a home in the area of 72 Street and 81 Avenue at 10:39 a.m. and arrived on scene at 10:44 a.m.
Investigators with EFRS said the fire started in a shed and spread to nearby combustibles in the backyard.
Strong winds pushed the fire to a neighbouring house and deck on the west side of the shed, EFRS said in a media release. The main and top floors of the house were consumed by fire.
The house on the east side of the shed also suffered heat damage to the vinyl siding, EFRS said.
Brittany Lewchuk with EFRS said firefighters rescued two people from a basement suite.
Doug Pyska lives in one of the homes.
“I was just watching TV and I heard, ‘boom, boom, boom’ out back and got up to see what it was and saw all kinds of flames coming out of the back shed,” he said.
“I alerted the house and I ran outside and I knew there was a hose on the corner, so I ran outside to try to get the garden hose and tried to suppress it a little bit but there was nothing we could do. It was going too good already.”
Pyska said he’s friends with Terry, who lives in the basement, and was keeping a close eye on her.
“I used to be a firefighter so I could tell by the direction of the flames that she was OK for right now until the fire department got there and then we would try to extract her from there. But if it got worse I was going to bust the window and there’s enough people around, we could have just grabbed her by her arms and pulled her out the window, had it come to that.”
Terry, who did not provide her last name, said she could feel heat coming from the back of the house and because of the fire, had no other way out than through the window. She said fire crews were able to get her safely out of the house.
“They ran a ladder down and I wasn’t strong enough to pull myself out so they ran down and they lifted me up and hoisted me out on the ladder,” she explained, adding she wasn’t injured.
The fire was brought under control shortly after 1 p.m. and extinguished by about 3 p.m.
District chief Cartier said there were downed power lines in the back of the houses and “that’s probably what the popping sound was.”
“It’s always a concern. You’ve got live wire, you’ve got water.”
Pyska said it was “quite the morning.”
All residents made it out of the homes safely, EFRS said, and no injuries were reported. The cost of the damages is pegged at $550,000. All displaced residents were assisted by the Emergency Response Support Team and Red Cross.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.