Fire destroys pair of Riverbend homes
CALGARY -- A pair of southeast Calgary homes were decimated after flames tore through them late Tuesday evening.
Firefighters responded to the 2400 block of Riverstone Road. S.E. at approximately 11:15 p.m. following reports of a fire.
On arrival, crews encountered heavy smoke and flames had fully engulfed a two-storey home, prompting an aggressive exterior attack from firefighters.
Four people were displaced from their homes as a result of the fire. One person was treated on scene by paramedics for minor burns to his hand, while another was transported to hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation.
A GoFundMe campaign has now been set up for one woman who lost her home.
Alex McDermott lives just two doors down and said his family woke up to see an orange glow outside their window.
"I was just going to bed when we heard some screaming outside," he said. "It was terrifying. Everyone was running around and screaming and we just ran out to see how bad it was. We woke up the kids, grabbed our cars and just got ready to evacuate because it spread in just a few seconds — it was horrible, you could really feel the heat."
Strong wind caused the fire to spread to a second home and the heat damaged siding of neighbouring homes.
Battalion Chief Alistair Robin of the Calgary Fire Department said additional fire crews were called in due to tough wind and snow conditions.
"We really needed to get ahead of this fire and protect what was not burning and could have potentially been engulfed in flames," said Robin. "We needed to make some big decisions quickly because at the time of the fire, winds were reported at 33 kilometres per hour, which was definitely challenging."
Calgary police directed traffic while firefighters controlled the flames. Calgary Transit buses provided temporary shelter for affected residents in the area.
The exact cause of the fire is not yet known and remains under investigation.
Laura Wilson and her partner Joseph Squance lived in one of the homes destroyed by fire. The two are getting a lot of support from friends and have found somewhere to stay. They came back to see their home Wednesday afternoon.
"It's pretty devastating," said Wilson. "It hasn't really hit us fully but I think when we drove up just now it was pretty upsetting just to see.
"It was hard to see last night how much damage there was, but it looks pretty gutted, but there really isn't anything left inside."
Lindsay Sinclair learned of the fire that destroyed her friend Camille McDonald's home just after 8 a.m. Wednesday. Sinclair went into action right away and set up a GoFundMe campaign to help.
"It's been set up since about 8:40 a.m., and there's $550 raised already, which is amazing that everybody's pulled together," said Sinclair. "Camille is an amazing woman, so I don't doubt that the community is going to pull together."
Sinclair is also organizing an event for March 29 that will be held in the community, to raise money to help everyone impacted by the fire. She's set up a Facebook page called the Riverbend Fire Relief Fundraiser with more information.