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On Saturday I walked down to the Scotia Centre on Stephen Avenue to meet my friend Helga for coffee. On 4th Street, just before the 9th Avenue overpass, I entered into, what I assumed to be, a huge dust cloud.

It was a windy day, so I surmised the dirt from the construction site on my left was getting caught up by the wind and blown over the street.

Other than that, it was a gorgeous, sunny day, so after our little coffee klatsch, Helga and I  walked east on Stephen Avenue.

That’s when Helga noticed it. A plume of smoke was rising in the south. We decided to check it out.

As soon as we turned south onto McLeod Trail, we knew something was up. All four lanes of the one-way street were backed up with traffic – it was a parking lot!

“Man, am I ever glad we’re not in a car,” I mumbled.

When we hit 17th Avenue, we could finally see the source of the fire. A 48-unit condo, still under construction, was engulfed in flames.

Onlookers watched and snapped photos.

“I bet the working crew left the lights on,” said a gruff looking man to Helga. “I’ve seen that start fires at construction sites many a time.”

“I was on Scotsman Hill shooting photos when I saw the fire, so I came down to check it out,” said another man. “I think the propane tanks they use while tarring the roof exploded.”

Later that day, while watching the news,  I learned that the apartment building next door had been evacuated after tenants heard a series of explosions.

Last I heard, authorities still don’t know the actual cause of the fire and are asking the public to share any aerial photographs or videos they may have shot.


Earlier that same day, just after midnight Alpha House, a refuge for people with alcohol and drug dependencies, evacuated their building when a fire broke out. Sadly one man died.

related articles: Investigators looking to the public for clues in cause of huge condo fire and Man dies in fire at Calgary Alpha House