Improperly discarded smoking materials are to blame for a blaze that caused $6 million in damage to a northwest Edmonton apartment building last week.
At around 2:32 p.m. Thursday, emergency crews were called to the four-storey apartment in the area of 120 Street and 145 Avenue.
Fire crews arrived within four minutes to find flames coming from a fourth-floor balcony. In total, nine crews were called to the fire.
Approximately 50 residents of the 31-unit building were forced out of the building as the fire spread into the roof. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said the roof eventually collapsed.
The fire was challenging with “stubborn hot spots,” according to EFRS. It was brought under control by 8:12 p.m. Thursday and declared out by 10:18 p.m.
In an update Monday, EFRS said investigators have determined the cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials.
Damages are pegged at $6 million — about $4.3 million to the structure and $1.7 million to contents.
“This was a devastating fire and one that was 100 per cent preventable,” EFRS said in a news release Monday.
“Fires in multi-family buildings often originate on balconies due to the improper disposal of smoking materials. These fires are able to spread quickly and undetected between units due to wind, lack of sprinkler system and lack of fire alarm systems on balconies.”
The property has been released to the management company. EFRS said insurance engineers will assess the building to determine its future.
People who smoke are urged to use a deep, non-combustible ashtray that cigarettes can fall into, as well as wet cigarette butts and matches with water before disposing of them.
Smokers should never extinguish smoking materials in planter pots, potting soil, peat moss or any other types of soil as they contain combustible materials, EFRS stressed.