Sylvan Lake firefighters spent three hours battling a townhouse blaze early Tuesday evening that left a family of four homeless.
The fire began on the back deck of the end unit of a three-townhouse complex on Old Boomer Road in the town. A mother and her two children were home at the time but managed to get out of the house safely.
Fire Chief Cliff Brausen said the call came in at 5:35 p.m. and about 18 volunteer firefighters responded. There were flames showing at the back of the home when they arrived.
“There was pretty substantial damage to that structure,” he said. “The next townhouse suffered some smoke damage. And the third one at the other end of the structure is fine.”
The fire badly damaged the back deck and there is also fire and smoke damage to the side of the house and roof. There was also fire and smoke damage to the interior.
They will need to find a new place to live while it is repaired. “The building is uninhabitable.”
A Red Cross volunteer team stepped in on Tuesday night to provide the family with shelter and food for the next 72 hours. Emergency clothing, hygiene kits, two teddy bears and a pair of eyeglasses were provided for the family.
The Red Cross Personal Disaster Assistance Team will refer the family to other organizations to help them with their long-term needs.
Last year, response teams assisted 650 adults and children in crisis situations across Alberta. All support is provided free of charge.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. “We don’t have an exact cause yet, but we’re focusing our efforts on the back deck,” Brausen said.
A damage estimate was not yet available.