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Saskatoon apartment fire that left 26 homeless may have been arson, investigator says

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Twenty-six people have been rehoused to a local hotel after a suspicious fire that forced an entire four-storey west side apartment building to evacuate on Sunday night.

Crews were called to the apartment building in the 200 block of Avenue V South around 8:19 p.m. on Sunday, a fire department news release said.

Firefighters reported seeing flames coming from a third storey suite when they arrived. Early on, the fire department said two occupants needed help evacuating due to heavy smoke in the hallways, and two other fire engines were called in to help.

Later, crews helped evacuate four residents who were trapped in their suites, the fire department said.

The fire was under control within about an hour, and an investigator was called in, according to a news release.

The Saskatoon Fire Department said the door of the burning suite was left open, allowing smoke to pour into the hallway and making it impassable for other residents.

Damages are estimated at $400,000, the fire department says.

A fire investigation identified two origins for the blaze, both in a suite on the third floor — one in a bedroom and another in the living room.

One occupant was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and later released, the fire department says. No other injuries were reported.

The Saskatoon police are investigating the incident as a potential arson.

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