1 dead, 3 injured after fire destroys Edmonton group home

The provincial government says it will conduct a review of a group home that went up in flames Monday, killing one person and injuring three others.

An Alberta government spokesperson, Leah Holoiday, said the review will include looking into the agency’s staffing ratios, training and safety procedures.

The review is in addition to police and fire department investigations, she said. 

One person died and three others were sent to hospital after a fire tore through the group home for people with disabilities in west Edmonton around 2 a.m. Monday.

Earlier, an Alberta Health Services spokesperson had said four patients were taken to hospital: a man in his 40s in critical, life-threatening condition; a man of an unknown age in critical, life-threatening condition; a man in his 30s in serious condition; and a woman in her 30s in serious condition.

Later, police confirmed that one person had died.

Neighbours said the home, at 166th Street and 90th Avenue in the West Meadowlark neighbourhood, housed three people with mental and physical disabilities.

The group home was operated by McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association, said Holoiday. McMan officials could not be reached for comment. 

Staff would rotate through the home, said neighbour Ben Zubieto, who lives directly across the street.

Zubieto said he was still awake early Monday when he heard a woman scream outside.

Another neighbour, Zally Ocier, shot video showing the house engulfed in flames as a fire truck arrives on scene.

Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers.

One person is dead and three others are in hospital after an early-morning fire at a group home. 0:22

“I saw this lady standing by the sidewalk and she was screaming for help. And the next thing I saw was the fire,” Zubieto said.

Zubieto saw flames coming out of the upstairs window of the split-level house. He called 911 and spoke to the woman who had screamed for help. She worked in the home, he said.

“She was in shock and she was shaking, and she was worried about her clients being inside, the three of them,” Zubieto said. “There’s nothing we could do because the flames were coming out of the windows.

“I just hope they’re OK.”

He said the fire was “terrifying” to witness.

“It’s Christmas Eve. It’s a very unfortunate thing that happened today.”

One person is dead and three others injured after a house fire early Monday in west Edmonton. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Fire crews were called at 1:44 a.m. and arrived on scene in six minutes, said Edmonton Fire Rescue Services spokesperson Suzzette Melado.

“When firefighters got to the address they were able to rescue three people who were inside the home. One was in critical condition,” Mellado said. “They were all transported to hospital by EMS.”

A fourth person was assessed on scene and also taken to hospital.

Fire crews had the fire under control by 3:30 a.m. 

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s a very unfortunate thing that happened today.– Ben  Zubieto

A total of five Edmonton firefighter units and 21 firefighters responded to the blaze. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim, especially given this time of the year,” said fire Chief Ken Block.

By late Monday morning, the house appeared severely damaged and investigators remained at the scene.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

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