Evacuee encounters ‘wall of heat’ as blaze strikes Cochrane townhouse complex

COCHRANE, Alta. — Two townhouse complexes under construction have been destroyed and another one has been damaged by a fire northwest of Calgary.

The blaze broke out early Wednesday morning in Cochrane.

Some firefighters suffered minor injuries while two people were ordered from a nearby townhome as a precaution.

A few nearby residences and some vehicles had heat damage.

Emergency crews and an aerial truck were called in from Calgary to help keep the flames from spreading.

The two gutted townhouses each contained five units.

Cochrane fire Chief David Humphrey said the fire was massive.

“A fire this size with this much of the block involved, under new construction is basically a big wood box, so there’s going to be some intense heat,” he said. “A small- to medium-sized community, any large structure like this is always a challenge.”

Evacuee Caleb Langford said a neighbour rang their doorbell to let them know something was happening.

“My dog was freaking out and letting us know we needed to leave so we came out and there was just kind of a wall of heat. We could really feel the flames from probably 100 to 200 metres away, the fire was really that large,” said Langford.

Emergency crews continued Wednesday to check for hot spots.

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