One home has been destroyed by a morning fire in Edmonton’s northeast.
Several 911 calls came in about a house fire in the area of 137 Avenue and 37 Street Tuesday morning. The first call was received at 7:24 a.m., according to a spokesperson with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.
Crews arrived on scene within three minutes, Brittany Lewchuk said.
“On our arrival, flames were coming through the roof on two of the structures,” district chief Darcy Sperling said from the scene.
“There was intense heat. We did do a very good job, though, of getting water on the fire as quick as we could.”
By 7:30 a.m., flames and massive plumes of smoke could be seen coming from the area.
At least two homes were engulfed in flames and smoke. Crews were spraying water on a third home in an effort to keep the fire from spreading.
A total of seven units responded to the fire.
Steven Sullivan lives across the street from the home where the fire began.
“I was sitting on my couch getting ready to have my morning coffee. I heard some yelling and screaming, I looked out my window, I saw the fire roaring in the garage,” he said.
“I’ve got a security system on my house so my camera tells me that I walked out of my house at 7:23 a.m. and it was just in the garage at the time. By the time fire showed up the house was fully engulfed and it was moving over into the second house.”
Sullivan said he heard voices coming from the backyard of the house that was on fire. He jumped into action.
“I ran over through the neighbour’s yard into the backyard to make sure everyone was out from their perspective. Then I went and grabbed my step-ladder so the neighbour could get out of the backyard. And then we just sat back and watched it go.”
Everyone was able to make it out of the homes safely and no injuries were reported, Lewchuk said.
One home has been destroyed, Lewchuk said. The fire extended into a second home to the north, which suffered extensive damage. A third home to the south suffered exterior damage, Lewchuk said.
The cause of the fire and cost of the damage is not yet known.
“This fire is going to be an all-day event here,” Sperling said. “They are digging up the gas line to get the gas shut off to the houses. We can’t get into the house at this time either so we are fighting it from the exterior.”
Tuesday’s house fire is one of several residential blazes in the Edmonton area over the past week.
Several units in an apartment building in northeast Edmonton suffered extensive damage in a fire Friday morning.
Also Friday morning, a man suffered serious injuries in a rural house fire in Strathcona County.
Theresa Ross said her cousin John Busch and his 19-year-old son were sleeping in their home in Strathcona County when a fire broke out around 3 a.m. Friday. Strathcona County Emergency Services said the pair managed to escape the blaze but went back inside the home to grab belongings and their dog, then became trapped inside.
Busch remained in stable condition but in a medically induced coma, and the family is uncertain about the full extent of his injuries, Ross told Global News on Sunday.
Last Thursday morning, one person was taken to hospital after a house fire in the area of 133 Avenue and 104 Street, which EFRS believes may have been deliberately set.
Last Tuesday morning, a large fire destroyed a home in Edmonton’s Ambleside neighbourhood.
Acting fire marshal Dennis Friedel with EFRS said it’s been “a busy past few weeks” for fire crews.
“With the weather conditions and the spring winds, it’s been easier for the fires to catch and spread,” Friedel said Tuesday.
While he couldn’t speak to the specific causes of each of the recent fires in Edmonton, he said smoking materials have been one of the biggest causes of house fires in the city. It’s a problem that increases in the spring, he said.
“Because of the weather conditions, people who — even though they shouldn’t do it — would discard their cigarettes into snowbanks and that, then they start throwing it into the dry grass,” he said.
“Grass hasn’t had a chance to green up.”
Friedel said people will also often use a planter, which during the winter will have some snow in it to help douse the cigarette.
“Improperly discarded smoking materials, if not discarded properly, it can sit and smolder for hours and even days before igniting and then the fire could start and extend into a house or a building. If no one is around the fire could get away from people,” he explained.
“If you’re a smoker, please discard your smoking material in a tall metal ash tray — something that’s a fair distance from the home. Don’t use planters, don’t throw them freely on the grass, don’t use plastic containers.”
Another tip is to know your neighbours and watch out for one another.
“One thing we’d like is for people to be familiar with their neighbours. Watch out for your property and your neighbour’s property, especially if you know they’re away.”