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Community rallies to help those left homeless by Thursday's blaze in Auburn Bay


A Calgary community is rallying around families whose homes were destroyed by fire Thursday.

The flames destroyed basically everything they own, which is why their community is pitching in to help give them a new start.

Donations were piling up on Friday.

"Community is family to us, so we wanted to come forward and help ease the pain," said Balwant Singh, owner of the Auburn Bay A&W and one of the donation organizers.

Blazing orange contrasted with frosty white on Auburn Bay Boulevard in southeast Calgary late Thursday afternoon, as fire crews worked during an extreme cold warning, battling the blaze as well as the bitter cold and building ice.

"The incident was upgraded to a second and third alarm to bring in extra resources. We didn't want to interrupt the firefighting efforts but needed to rotate crews out regularly so they could warm up," said Carol Henke, public information officer for the Calgary Fire Department.

The fire started in one house and spread to a second -- fully engulfing both, totalling two vehicles and leaving multiple families homeless.

Community members say there are three families affected.

The dad of one wasn't home but the mom and two young kids escaped the house where the fire started.

A second couple with two young kids and another young couple lived in the neighbouring home.

"The neighbours down in this quadrant have surrounded the families subjected to this tragedy," Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer said on Friday.

"It's part of what makes this corner of the city special. There's a real sense of togetherness."

Community group Auburn Bay Angels swooped in, gathering gift cards from neighbours.

The local A&W is donating $2 for every combo sold next Tuesday.

The A&W is also collecting cash and clothing.

Donair Grill will host a donair kit day next Thursday with $10 from every kit going toward the cause.

A GoFundMe has been set up.

"We don’t know each other personally but we feel the pain for each of them and that's meant a lot for all of us," Singh said.

Auburn Bay Angels say the families have places to stay for now but some neighbours have also offered accommodations if the families need them in the future.

Fire investigators worked during the daylight hours on Friday and are still trying to confirm the cause of Thursday's blaze. Top Stories


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