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1 in critical condition after fire in southeast Edmonton apartment complex

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One person was taken to hospital in critical condition after a fire tore through a southeast Edmonton complex early Monday morning. 

Anmol Saini and Nav Singh say they woke in their Ridgewood Gardens suite around 2 a.m. to alarms and smoke. 

"We just collected our important items, like our documents and … just came out of the room," Saini told CTV News Edmonton. 

"When you see the big blazes burning places, obviously it's a bit stressful," his roommate added. 

Anmol Saini, left, and Nav Singh, right, say they woke in their Ridgewood Gardens suite around 2 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2022, to alarms and smoke. In total, 64 units in two buildings were evacuated.

The pair live on the main floor of one of the buildings in the complex in the Bissett neighbourhood and believed the fire originated at that level before spreading to the fourth and top floor. 

In a video Saini took and shared with CTV News Edmonton, flames at the roof of the building turn the surrounding sky orange. 

All 32 units in that building, as well as all 32 units in another building that was exposed to the blaze, were evacuated, according to Edmonton Fire Rescue Services. Two people were taken to hospital by EMS, one of whom was said to be in critical condition. 

The total number of people affected was unknown. Two city buses were provided to help keep people warm. 

Another resident, Shyam Mistry, told CTV News Edmonton said it was "very disturbing" to watch the fire spread across the building. His family's suite was not touched by the fire, but the dad of two was expecting it sustained water damage. 

"Everything is in there. We have nothing, basically," Mistry said. 

"We just took our kids. We just put them in a blanket and came out." 

The fire was declared under control at 4 a.m., but crews were still on scene at 6 a.m. putting out hot spots. 

Saini and Singh were sitting in their vehicle watching the firefight. 

Both are newcomers to Canada; Saini arrived about half a year ago to start classes at Norquest College, and Singh about one month ago. Both also have family coming to live with them, including Singh's kids who were due to fly in from Toronto on Monday. 

"It's not scary anymore, but we worried, 'What are we going to do tomorrow?' Because we have kids and families, so that's the thing to think about now," Singh said. 

Officials said an investigation into the fire had started, but there were no details yet on a cause or damage estimate. 

A fire at the same complex in October 2020 was started by smoking material that was not put out properly and caused $1.5 million in damages. No one was hurt. 

"It's totally unsafe," Mistry commented. "Irresponsible tenants is what we (end) up getting in these kinds of buildings. Those are the major cause." 

Angel Paquito and his wife fled the neighbouring building. Having lived in the complex for nine years, they were home when flames broke out in 2020, too. 

"We feel scared because this is big. The fire's bigger than the other." 

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