Shortly after 5 a.m. on July 29th, Lacombe Fire Department responded to a fire in Henner’s Pointe that destroyed three homes.
Fire Chief Ed van Delden said the three homes involved in the fire were lost, but no one was hurt in the fire.
He said all of the occupants of the homes, and many of their neighbours, had evacuated prior to crews responding.
van Delden said there were several bystanders in attendance when firefighters arrived on scene and it was difficult to tell which were residents of the affected homes, but it did not take them long to learn there was no one left in the buildings on fire.
Upon arrival, the fire, which started in a house in the middle of the block, was already quite involved and van Delden said he could see heavy smoke coming from the two houses adjacent to it as well.
Firefighters made the decision to focus their efforts on attempting to save the adjacent homes and contain the fire to prevent it from spreading further.
“My concern was having it extend even beyond,” said van Delden.
He went on to say anytime firefighters engage in defensive firefighting tactics, it is likely the building will be lost.
He added the massive amounts of water needed to fight such fires can cause damage to homes as well.
“All that water comes down inside the house,” said van Delden. “So what isn’t consumed by fire, certainly is heavily damaged by water.”
One of the homes was completely burned down in the fire but the structures of other two adjacent to it, while heavily damaged beyond saving, are still intact. van Delden said residents of those homes were even able to salvage some belongings after the fire was extinguished.
Damages are estimated at $3 million.
Lacombe requested mutual aid from Blackfalds and Clive fire departments after dispatch and upon arrival requested for Bentley to respond as well. Altogether, about 40 firefighters responded to the call and about 20 Lacombe firefighters were involved in the operation.
It is unknown at this time what caused the fire and the incident is under investigation.
However, van Delden said the fire is believed to have started in the attached garage of the most heavily damaged home, which was between the two others.
Mayor Steve Christie, a former volunteer firefighter himself, was at the scene for a time. “The training that they do is second to none, they are prepared,” said Christie. He added the fire department does a lot of work in the community outside firefighting as well. “I just thank them so much for all that they do for our community.”
Christie also offered comfort for the families affected by the fire. “On behalf of the City, our hearts go out to the affected families in those three homes.”
Canadian Red Cross has also stepped in to provide aid to the families affected by the fire.
Red Cross is providing emergency food, clothing and accommodation for six adults and seven children for 72 hours.
In true Lacombian fashion, a donation collection for the families has already been set up as well.
Lacombe Storage is collecting donations in one of their portable containers at their location in the Wolf Creek Industrial Park (4014 52 Ave). Red Cross is also accepting cash donations online at www.redcross.ca.