RCMP links suspicious duplex fire to arson

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Local RCMP are investigating a suspicious fire that took place at a duplex in Sherwood Park’s Charlton Heights neighbourhood during the early morning hours on Sunday.

Located at 436 and 438 Charlotte Crescent, the weekend fire at the duplex left both residences destroyed, however, all occupants escaped without harm.

Strathcona County Emergency Services (SCES) received multiple reports of the fire at 3:17 a.m. on Sunday, May 2.

“The first arriving crews were able to confirm all occupants made it out of the building. We mounted what we call an offensive attack and we tried to clear and knockdown from the outside and then tried to get into the building,” explained Devin Capcara, deputy chief of operations for Strathcona County Emergency Services. “Both residences had people inside but they detected the fire before they became overcome and they got out of the building by the time we arrived.”

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Strathcona County Emergency Services received multiple reports of a fire at the duplex on Charlotte Crescent in the Charlton Heights neighbourhood just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, May 2. SCES
Strathcona County Emergency Services received multiple reports of a fire at the duplex on Charlotte Crescent in the Charlton Heights neighbourhood just after 3 a.m. on Sunday, May 2. SCES

Two fire engines, a ladder truck, an ambulance, and the commander were sent to the blaze.

“The fire was centred around the back of the building and it went into the roof and the roof was on fire so crews tried to get in once we knocked down the back,” he said. “They were driven back by smoke and heat, so they then exited the building and we put our aerial up and they were able to knock down the bulk of the fire in the roof with our elevated stream.”

Crews re-entered the building and were able to finish knocking down the flames, with the fire declared under control by 4:11 a.m.

“We evacuated the houses on either side of it but the other families were able to get back into their homes last night,” Capcara said.

No injuries were reported from the fire.

Second suspicious fire within a week

Strathcona County RCMP said this is the second suspicious fire in the area in the same week.

“Police have determined the fires to be suspicious in nature and are being investigated as arson,” read a local RCMP release dated Monday, May 3.

Local RCMP has connected Sunday morning’s fire at 436 and 438 Charlotte Crescent to arson. Photo courtesy SCES
Local RCMP has connected Sunday morning’s fire at 436 and 438 Charlotte Crescent to arson. Photo courtesy SCES

The first fire was Tuesday, April 27 at 5:56 a.m. when a small deck fire was reported on Charlotte Way. The homeowner spotted the fire on the lower back deck after the alarm went off and the fire was extinguished with a garden hose. There were no injuries reported in that blaze.

The second blaze was the duplex fire, which caused extensive damage.

“The roof is burned pretty much off and there is a lot of damage on the upper floor. There is also smoke and heat damage and a lot of water damage on the main floor and in the basement,” Capcara said. “Not sure if it is a complete write-off or not, but there is quite a bit of damage for sure.”

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A fire investigation has been launched into the cause and damage estimate.

Total damages from Sunday’s duplex fire have not yet been tallied by fire investigators. Photo courtesy SCES
Total damages from Sunday’s duplex fire have not yet been tallied by fire investigators. Photo courtesy SCES

RCMP requesting video surveillance to catch arsonist

The Strathcona County RCMP General Investigation Section is assisting in the investigation and is asking for anyone in the area with video surveillance to come forward.

RCMP said the fire that occurred on April 24 at the Sherwood Centre strip mall on Sherwood Drive and Wye road, which destroyed six businesses, is not related to this investigation.

If you have any information about the Charlotte Crescent or Charlotte Way fires, you’re urged to contact RCMP at 780-467-7742. You can also submit your tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at P3tips.com or on the Crime Stoppers app.

tdosser@postmedia.com

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