A suburban neighbourhood in southeast Calgary “looked like Armageddon,” one police officer said, after a major fire on Sunday destroyed a partially built condo complex, seriously damaged two more and melted the exteriors of more than a dozen vehicles parked on an adjacent street.
“It was a massive fire,” Insp. Paul Stacey said Sunday afternoon, as firefighters continued to deal with hot spots from the three-alarm blaze that broke out around 2:30 a.m. in the 600 block of McKenzie Towne Drive S.E.
There were no reported injuries, but the scale of the destruction appeared to be enormous.
Police blocked off several streets for most of the day as firefighters battled the blaze and arson investigators were called in.
“We’re thinking it’s suspicious,” Stacey said. “For a fire in an abandoned place or a place under construction to happen at 2:30 in morning, it begs some questions.”
Heat from the fire caused the tires on cars parked on the far side of the street to explode, said Calgary Fire Department spokesman Jayson Doyscher. It also melted plastic components and singed the paint jobs on many vehicles.
“That’s quite a bit of damage for that distance,” Doyscher said while glancing at the cars still parked on the street.
One woman who lives in a nearby condo with a bedroom facing the fire said she looked out her window Sunday morning and all she could see was “a lot of flames.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation and an estimate of the total damages was not immediately available.
Effects on the neighbourhood:
- Some nearby residents were evacuated from their homes due to smoke in the area and gas lines damaged by the fire.
- Calgary Transit vehicles provided temporary shelter to those evacuated.
- Promenade Way and and McKenzie Towne Drive S.E. were closed Sunday morning but re-opened to traffic later in the day, while McKenzie Towne Gate remained closed.