Fire rips through Saskatoon apartment building overnight
A major fire ripped through a three-story Saskatoon apartment building in the 300 block of 108th Street W overnight on Saturday.
The Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) was on the scene before 1 a.m. Saturday where the wood frame construction with the roof was fully engulfed in fire, a SFD news release said.
Fire crews helped rescue multiple people inside the units. An updated news release from the department says no injuries for fatalities occurred as a result from the fire.
The fire investigator has determined the cause of the fire was accidental and started because smoking materials were improperly disposed of. The fire originated in the northwest corner of the ground floor outside of the building.
Damage is estimated to be around $5 million.
Adele Freimark lives next door and says she couldn’t fall asleep because every time she closed her eyes she could only see one thing.
“I just saw flames ... almost a dream," Freimark said.
Jaret Gentner lives roughly half a block away from the condo. He was watching TV in his basement when he heard his wife telling him to come upstairs. Within minutes, thick smoke turned into “hand-sized” embers flying off the roof. So he put on some coveralls and grabbed as many garden hoses as he could to try and help.
"It looked like the fires in the movie when they have the firestorms that have Armageddon. There were just big chunks of embers laying everywhere still burning.”
Gentner worked to soak his neighbors property and his own backyard. It wasn't until he got inside over an hour later when he realized one of the flying embers burned his neck.
Owen McKenzie lives next door and says the situation could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for people across the street alerting people inside telling them to get out as fast as they could.
“We found our way out, but it was the kind of thing where you know what was happening, sort of, but you’re not sure," he said.
McKenzie thanked the police and firefighters for their quick work to get everyone out and manage the situation as best as possible. He also thanked residents across the street who offered blankets, water and coffee to evacuees who watched their homes slowly burn.
Waiting for power to be restored to his building, he was having trouble accepting the close call.
“Fire trucks going by and you usually hear them coming and then going, and this time they stopped at our address," he said. "Firefighters prioritized their efforts and, as we always do, SFD personnel worked as a team," the release said.
"This was a challenging fire due to many circumstances. Firefighters performed amazing rescues and battles extreme fire conditions."
The burnt portion of the building was partially taken down to properly extinguish the fire and reduce the risk of it collapsing further, the release said.
Some residents will require rehousing and the Salvation Army is making arrangements.
The fire department will hold a media conference at the #5 at 2 p.m. on Sunday to follow up with further information and details about the fire.
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