EDMONTON -- An Edmonton man is in critical condition with serious burns after helping four kids escape a burning house Wednesday.

The blaze broke out on 35 Street and 18 Avenue around 4:10 p.m.

“First arriving crews were here within three minutes and they found a house fully involved,” District Chief Howard Samycia said at the scene.

“The kids said that there was one male occupant in the basement. Firefighters went in and rescued that individual and brought him out.”

He was rushed to hospital in critical condition.

According to officials, four children were also taken to hospital for minor smoke inhalation. 

Neighbour Hadi Ali said he broke a basement window and the man in the home passed the children through to him.

“I saw the fire coming to the home. I called the fire (department), and when I was there I heard the screams and I broke the window and I (helped) save four children,” Ali said.

Ali believed all the children he helped were under five years old.

“They were ok, but the man was burned. It was very scary.”

He said he wasn’t able to pull the man through the window, but firefighters rescued him minutes later.

“He was very concentrated on getting his kids out,” Samycia said.

The inside of the home was gutted by flames. The fire wasn't considered under control until about 5 p.m. and fully extinguished until nearly 8 p.m. 

By Thursday, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services had determined about $200,000 in damage had been caused by the flame. The majority -- $180,000 -- was to the building. 

The cause is still under investigation.

CTV News Edmonton was able to speak with the wife and mother of those involved. She said that she has not been able to visit her husband in hospital yet but was told he has serious burn marks across his arms and head.

She added that all of her four kids are recovering well after being treated for smoke inhalation.


An earlier version of this story quoted Alberta Health Services as having said five children were involved. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services later confirmed with AHS only four were.