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Citadel fire started on main-floor patio; Cause still 'undetermined'

The fire that burned through the seniors' complex May 6 travelled from the ground floor up the vinyl siding to the attic and roof.
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Fire crews shot water at the burning top floor as the fire worked its way along the Citadel Mews West building on the night of May 6.

The fire that was sparked May 6 at Citadel Mews West originated on the ground-floor patio of the building, according to St. Albert Fire Services investigators.

The cause has been designated as "undetermined," and the investigation is ongoing, the City of St. Albert said this morning in a press release.

The fire investigators followed the path of the fire and were able to locate where it started, but the cause of the fire in the seniors' complex at 15 Erin Ridge Road, is still unclear.

“The fire was initially undetected on the patio, which allowed it to grow. It spread from patio furniture to the underside of the deck structure above,” the release said.

“From there, it travelled up the vinyl siding into the attic of the building and eventually the roof. Once the fire reached the attic, which is a large confined area, it was extremely difficult to access.”

The city said high winds also hampered the firefighting effort.

 “This was a large and devastating fire, where thankfully no one was seriously hurt,” St. Albert Fire Services Acting Fire Chief, Scott Wilde said.

 “If you live in a multi-family building, be aware of your building’s fire-safety plan and practice your escape. A fire safety plan is required for all buildings with a fire-alarm system.”

A damage estimate has yet to be determined, but damage from the fire was mainly limited to the upper-floor and ground-floor suites where the fire originated. Water and smoke damage was extensive in the remainder of the building.

As the cause of the fire is undetermined, St. Albert Fire Services will continue to collect additional information if it becomes available.

Citadel Mews West, a combination of independent living and assisted living, was evacuated, along with the centre building – Citadel Care Centre, a long-term care facility, in the three-building complex. The centre building is attached to Citadel Mews West by a pedway, but did not catch fire. Citadel Mews East, the detached independent-living building in the complex, was not evacuated.

Three residents sustained injuries. Two were hospitalized in serious but stable condition due to smoke inhalation, while one had minor lacerations.

Evacuated residents were relocated to the St. Albert Inn, with most put up in hotel rooms and others placed in available beds at long-term care facilities in the region.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Jennifer Henderson is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for Great West Media based in St. Albert, Alta.
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