Smoking sparked massive Edmonton condo blaze

Pamela Roth, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

EDMONTON - About 400 people were forced from their homes by a condominium blaze early Monday.

The four-storey condo fire at Park Place Hamptons, near 199 Street and 53 Avenue, broke out in the early morning hours on Monday.

Kevin Lapes and his wife Alyssa Guthrie were fast asleep in their second floor unit at Park Place South Hamptons when a fire alarm went off around 1:30 a.m.

During the three years that Lapes has lived in the building, there have been many false alarms, so the couple didn't think anything of it until the smell of smoke began wafting through the air. Guthrie then saw a burning piece of vinyl fall past their window, prompting the pair to grab a wallet and two phones before fleeing the building in their pyjamas.

"We grabbed one bunny and we couldn't get the other because she hid under the bed," said Lapes, noting the fire department managed to save the couple's second rabbit.

Once outside, the couple watched in disbelief as the billowing smoke turned into flames ripping through the roof of the middle portion of the four-storey condo complex.

"It was just billowing smoke. It was disbelief, shock. You see it on the news all the time, but then it's your building," Lapes said.

About fifteen minutes after fire crews arrived at the scene, located just off 199 Street and Lessard Road, a second alarm was called for more firefighters to help battle the intense flames. The fire was brought under control around 3:15 a.m., causing an estimated $7 to $8 million in damage.


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