An investigation into a fire that engulfed two homes in Prairie Springs continues, and Airdrie Fire Services (AFD) has solicited the public for assistance to determine the cause.
According to Deputy Fire Chief Garth Rabel, the fire occurred Aug. 7. Firefighters arrived on scene at the 1000 Block of Prairie Springs Hills SW at approximately 2:50 a.m. following reports of a structure fire that threatened to extend to adjacent homes on the block.
Extremely high winds and heavy rain were present during the fire, Rabel said, and crews had to position themselves to ensure the wind "played in their favour and didn't cause them other difficulties."
Seven residents from the three homes most threatened by the flames evacuated prior to AFD's arrival. Residents from three additional homes south of the fire were temporarily evacuated as a precaution with RCMP officers' assistance, Rabel added.
According to Rabel, the two burning houses were “in failure," making it unsafe for firefighting. As a result, once all residents were accounted for, a "defensive fire attack" was employed by AFD.
"Our team put up water supplies between the houses that were on fire and the homes that were threatened, to stop any further spread," he said. "Large, copious amounts of water [were] applied from both the ground and the air through our aerial unit to bring the fire under control."
The fire was under control after approximately one hour, Rabel said. Five pieces of firefighting apparatus and thirteen firefighters were on scene
Members of the public reported no injuries, but one firefighter did sustain a lower back injury while fighting the blaze.
"He's been looked at by a doctor and should be returning to work shortly," Rabel said.
Exterior damage to two adjacent homes on either side of the fire scene was found, and three homes south of the scene also suffered minor damage to their vinyl siding, Rabel said. Final damage estimates have yet to be determined, he added.
An investigation by the Fire Prevention Bureau into the cause of the blaze is ongoing, Rabel said. On Aug. 10, the City of Airdrie released a Public Service Announcement requesting the public’s assistance with the investigation.
"Any members of the public that may have some video or audio from the time of the incident, if they feel they could share it with the fire service to support our ongoing investigation, can send it to email@example.com," Rabel said.
He did not comment on whether the fire is being treated as arson.
Following the fires, two GoFundMe webpages were set up Dana Johnson and Dominika Komarnicki, who lost their homes in the fire. Those fundraisers can be found at gofundme.com/f/fundraiser-for-master-dana-johnson and gofundme.com/f/let039s-help-dom
"We're grateful that there are no injuries," Rabel said. "It's definitely a scary time and our thoughts are with the folks that have been displaced as they try to get their lives back to some sense of normalcy."