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'Intense' Dover townhouse fire sends 3 to hospital

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Three people are in stable condition in hospital after a two-storey Calgary townhouse caught fire on Saturday morning. 

It happened on Doverdale Mews in the southeast community of Dover just before 11:30 a.m. 

Calgary fire crews say the fire started on the top floor of the four-suite building. Seven people were able to self-evacuate: three were brought to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and one other was treated on scene. 

Battalion chief Innes Fraser says it could have been worse. 

"Our crew in the area was actually out getting fuel, so they arrived on scene at 11:24 a.m., one minute after the initial call," he said. "They used what we call a 'transitional attack,' which means they were putting water from the outside of the structure in to it. And (then) the crews worked their way inside to search and make sure everyone was out."

Neighbours tell CTV News the flames spread quickly. 

"I was letting my dogs out and I heard screaming for help," Courtney Hawthorne said. "There was a lady in the upstairs window hanging out and screaming that she couldn't jump. And then I saw the right window burst and the flames started to come out."

Hawthorne says she still isn't sure how everyone inside was able to evacuate, but she's relieved they were. 

"It was starting to go to the neighbours' side when I saw it," she said. "The wind was blowing so it was coming out really heavy and the smoke was thick. It was intense."

Fire crews say substantial damage in the source suite means it will not be able to be reoccupied. 

A total of 13 fire apparatus attended the scene and will remain there throughout Saturday evening to extinguish any hot spots. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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