Smoking material identified as cause of $2-million condo fire
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013 7:45AM CST
Last Updated Friday, May 3, 2013 8:28AM CST
Fire officials have determined the cause of a blaze that caused between $1.5 million and $2 million in damage to a Saskatoon condo early Thursday.
Investigators said Friday that the blaze that swept through at 1121 McKercher Dr. was caused by careless disposal of smoking material.
Although damage was extensive, fire officials say the building’s fire wall helped halt the progress of the flames. There is water damage to the entire structure.
Contractors will enter the building Friday to gather personal belongings of the residents. Alternate accommodation will need to be found for the 36 people who were living in the building at the time of the fire, Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services said in a news release.
The fire department responded to the fire just before 7 a.m. Thursday, with a total of eight fire vehicles and 32 firefighters responded to the blaze.
Crews entered the building and began attacking the fire within minutes but the flames moved into the roof of the building.
The initial attack crew was ordered out of the building about 15 minutes after firefighters first arrived and a second alarm was called, bringing two more trucks to the scene.
Firefighters later re-entered the building to resume the attack on the fire and conduct a search. Utility services to the building were cut.
The fire was brought under control at approximately 8:15 a.m. By noon, crews were still at the apartment putting out spot fires and fire investigators were on the scene.
All of the building’s residents escaped safely, with one resident requiring treatment for smoke inhalation.
Tammy Klassen lived in the suite where the fire started. “I ran downstairs and I didn’t see any flames or anything so I just started banging on doors to see if I could wake somebody up to get them out,” she said.
Other residents joined in to help wake the rest of the building and get them out safely.
The devastating news brought out several good Samaritans, including Sobeys, who donated food to the victims, and the Red Cross who were out talking to residents who didn’t have insurance.
“Everyone’s been awesome,” Klassen said of the community’s response.