Condo fire estimate rises to $6M
Published Saturday, March 15, 2014 10:21AM MDT Last Updated Sunday, March 16, 2014 5:30PM MDT
Officials believe a condo fire that destroyed a building under construction in southwest Edmonton has caused $6 million in damages.
Fire crews were called out to the Windermere blaze, at 1031 173 Street, just before 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
“The whole building was involved in flames when they arrived,” senior captain investigator Daryl Brennan explained.
He said that addition crews were called and estimated up to 17 units responded.
Brennan explained that fire fighters immediately started evacuating neighbouring homes.
“I think there were eight or 10 houses that we evacuated,” he said, adding that everyone had since been let back into their homes.
There were no injuries reported and damage to nearby homes appeared to be strictly exterior, Brennan explained.
Neighbours said they were surprised at how quickly the building was destroyed.
“It flared up so quickly and within 20 or 30 minutes it was down to the ground. The danger had passed. It was that quickly it was consumed,” Peter Ebdon told CTV News.
“There was a whole orange glow behind the drapes. We came downstairs and just end to end totally engulfed in flames.”
Ebdon said he watched the fire from his deck and described the heat from the blaze as “unbearable.”
“On a day when the sun is really hot and it tingles your skin it was way hotter than that.
“As if your skin was starting to burn if you were out there too long.”
The estimate was originally said to be $5 million but the new estimate adds in damages to neighbouring homes.
Although investigators have not determined a cause, the developer, Cove Properties, claims to have footage of someone breaking into the property before the fire.
“It appears an individual broke into our building early Saturday morning and set one or more fires inside,” company president Clay Hamdon wrote to CTV News.
“Our Security Team called 911 and dispatched the Fire and Police Depts immediately, but upon their arrival the fire was too far along and there was nothing they could do but contain it from spreading.”
Hamdon also indicated that 50 of the 79 units in the building had been sold and people were expecting to move in this August.
Due to concern about a leaking propane tank at the site, crews conducted a controlled burn around mid-day.
Investigators are still trying to determine a cause for the fire.
With files from Sarah Richter