One home was destroyed and several others were damaged by an apparent explosion in the southeast Calgary community of Douglas Glen early Sunday morning.
Calgary fire spokesperson Carol Henke said more than 25 calls were made to 911 about 4:20 a.m.
“Callers reported hearing a loud bang, then seeing fire and smoke coming from the house,” she said.
“Some callers were several blocks away. When fire crews arrived on scene, they encountered a fully involved house fire with flames spreading to neighbouring residences.”
Strong winds and cold temperatures hampered efforts by fire fighters to get the flames under control.
The temperature at the time was -17 C and there were wind gusts up to 40 km/hr.
The fires have since been brought under control.
“The debris pattern around the neighbourhood would indicate there was an explosion,” said Capt. Paul Frederick with the Calgary Fire Department.
Investigators will begin sifting through the rubble looking for a cause once firefighters have finished putting out hot spots, said Frederick.
Neighbour Dale Frizzell heard the blast and ran outside to see the second storey of the home across the street had been blown away.
Frizzell says the owner of the destroyed home is in Thailand, where he spends six to eight weeks each winter.
“He’s lost everything, he had his car in the garage, he had his truck in his garage. He also had the house rented out,” he said.
“We’re just hoping the renter wasn’t here. We haven’t seen him for about a week or two, so we’re hoping he’s not here, that he’s somewhere else. That’s the main concern for us as neighbours.”
Anika MacLachlan and her son, Evan, were asleep in their home about 100 metres away when they were awakened by an explosion.
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“It was a violent shake of our house, to the point where the cupboards rattled and the glass inside was rattling,” said Anika.
She did a quick check of their own home, then went outside.
“That’s when we saw massive flames shooting up not far away,” she said.
Five homes were evacuated in the 300 block of Douglas Glen Close S.E.
A second alarm was called in, meaning additional fire resources sent to the scene, and Calgary Transit also brought in two buses to keep evacuees warm. Some of those evacuated have been allowed back inside their homes.
“The neighbouring home sustained pretty significant damage as well, but there were some other homes that just had some more minor damage like broken windows and melted siding,” said Henke.
Henke is asking anyone who has photos or videos of the fire to email them to her.