110 seniors homeless after fire damages St. Albert retirement complex

EDMONTON — A seniors’ retirement home and a nearby continuing care facility were evacuated Thursday evening due to a fire.

St. Albert firefighters responded to the fire at Citadel Mews West after 7 p.m. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services told CTV News Edmonton that it received a call for assistance at 8:16 p.m. as the fire grew. Six crews from Edmonton were sent to the seniors residence at 15 Erin Ridge Road and arrived on scene shortly before 8:30 p.m. 

Both the building on fire and the neighbouring continuing care facility, Citadel Meadows East, were evacuated. According to officials, all 110 residents were accounted for. Forty people living in extended medical care suites were transferred to hospitals in the region.

Alberta Health Services said three were taken to hospital: two for smoke inhalation and one with minor lacerations.

The rest of the evacuees were bused to either the St. Albert Inn or Alliance Church. 

The fire is fully extinguished, the City of St. Albert said Friday just after 9 a.m.

The building is less than 10 years old and is a multi-phase care facility, from long-term care to independent living for seniors.

“I can’t say enough thank you enough to the region,” Mayor Cathy Heron said Morinville, Spruce Grove and Edmonton’s fire departments who offered aid. “In a fire like this, you need multiple response teams.”

While the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, St. Albert’s acting fire chief Scott Wilde said it seems like it started on the first floor of the building in a suite then launched its way out of the building. From there it proceeded up the wall to the roof of the facility.

St. Albert fire chief

“(The fire) was just overwhelming,” he said. “It got up into the roof and was moving quite fast.”

“We stopped it before it got to the firewall. So about only half of the building was damaged.”

St. Albert fire

Smoke from the fire could be seen from downtown Edmonton.

RCMP helped to evacuate the buildings and block off roadways, and asked the public to stay away from the scene so crews could continue to work without interruption.

Dale Nally, the local MLA, told media the province had offered Heron “whatever” support it could. 

“I understand that emergency services are responding and doing their utmost to address the situation. Our thoughts are with all the residents, staff and first responders.”

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