Damage estimate for condo fire increases to $10M
Published Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:55PM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 23, 2014 7:22PM MDT
A day after a fire broke out in a west Edmonton condo building, causing millions of dollars in damages; officials with the condo board were releasing plans for residents to get their possessions back.
In a meeting held Tuesday evening, the condo board said an initial engineering review of the building, located at 1520 Hammond Gate, was underway. Once that was completed, owners and tenants of units in areas deemed safe to enter would be allowed to book 20 minute blocks to access their units and gather essential items for the next week.
A statement to CTV News said longer blocks of time to allow residents to recover larger items will be scheduled in the coming weeks, and once the parking lot and underground parkade are found to be safe to enter, residents will be allowed to retrieve their vehicles.
Officials said it’s believed that the condo building could be partially occupied again, in areas that sustained less damage, while occupancy in the centre and north wings of the building will be delayed during reconstruction and restoration.
“They have to address the safety concerns and make sure all of those are addressed before anyone can live in there again,” Edmonton Fire Rescue Chief of Investigations Daryl Brennan said. “We’re talking about exit ways, elevator ways, alarm systems.”
On Wednesday, the City of Edmonton released an updated damage estimate of $10 million, up from previous estimates pegging damages between $7 million and $8 million.
Investigators said the fire started after a cigarette was improperly disposed of in a potted plant on a fourth floor balcony. Officials said the cigarette butt continued to smoulder until the pot ignited, just before 1:30 a.m. Monday – the flames moved from the pot to the vinyl siding of the building, into the wall before spreading to the roof.
The fire spread through the attic to each side of the firewall, where firefighters managed to gain control at about 3:15 a.m. Crews remained on scene throughout the day putting out hotspots, and the fire was declared out by 2:45 p.m.