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Hundreds homeless after blaze engulfs condo complex

Hundreds of residents were displaced from a southwest condo complex after fire gutted the top floor of the four-storey building Thursday afternoon.

Hundreds of residents were displaced from a southwest condo complex after fire gutted the top floor of the four-storey building Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the 159-unit complex shortly before 12:30 p.m., and once they arrived a second and third alarm were called, according to fire officials.

Matt and Chelsea, recent migrants to Calgary from the U.K., rolled up to the scene at the intersection of Millrise Drive and Millrise Boulevard SW, only to watch firefighters dousing the final hot spots in a fourth-floor condo next to the charred remains of their own.

“We were just getting things up and running, really, and to see this ... (is) devastating,” said Matt.

The pair, who have lived in Calgary for nine months, said all of their belongings appear to be destroyed, except Christmas decorations and suitcases left in an underground storage. They said support from their work colleagues has already begun to pour in.

Third-floor resident Dominik Aschauer heard the fire alarm and went to his patio for a look.

When he saw smoke coming from the roof and patio of a corner suite, the 24-year-old Earls server grabbed his tip jar and fled the building.

“In the span of 20 minutes the whole roof was on fire,” said Aschauer.

“By the time I got outside ... (emergency services) was here. Really good for getting here on time.”

The blaze may have started on the roof and quickly spread across the building, according to the fire department’s Stephen Nichols. He indicated the building’s roof had collapsed, but that damage was contained to the top floor.

It was estimated that more than 400 residents were evacuated as a result of this fire. Calgary Emergency Management personnel were working with residents to find alternate accommodations.

A firefighter was transported to the Rockyview General Hospital and he was considered stable with minor injuries. Five police officers who were exposed to smoke were treated by EMS.

No cause or damage estimate was available, and Nichols indicated fire investigators would be at the scene well into the evening.