2 women, 1 man dead in house fire northwest of Edmonton

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Two women and a man were killed in a house fire early Sunday near Gunn, Alta., northwest of Edmonton, the fire chief for Lac Ste. Anne County said Monday.

Parkland RCMP responded at 12:30 a.m. Sunday to a house fire in the area of Darbyson Estates in Lac Ste. Anne County, RCMP said in a news release.

"Multiple people were believed to be inside the home at the time, but it was fully engulfed," police said.

After the fire was out, three adults were found dead inside.

Randy Schroeder, fire chief for Lac Ste. Anne County, told CBC News the victims are two women and a man.

A pet was also found dead inside the home, he said.

County fire services responded to a 911 call about an "advanced heavy fire situation" just after midnight Sunday, Schroeder said.

The first crew that arrived found a fully involved structure fire, and were told that people were still inside, he said.

"Fire conditions were such that we could not make an aggressive interior search attempt and we had to conduct defensive fire operations throughout, unfortunately," he said.

The fire was brought under control within 45 minutes but not declared out for another two hours.

The investigation is ongoing.

Fourteen firefighters from three stations responded to the fire. One firefighter was taken to hospital with minor smoke inhalation but was released and is back on duty, the chief said.

RCMP Const. Sarah Williams told CBC News the victims have been tentatively identified. Confirmation is pending the completion of autopsies, which is expected to happen Monday, Williams said.

Police and Schroeder said the fire is not believed to have been intentionally set.

The hamlet of Gunn is located about 70 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Second recent fire tragedy

Sunday's fatal fire marked the second such tragedy in less than three years for Lac Ste. Anne County and its firefighters.

In December 2019, a family of five died in a house fire in the hamlet of Rochfort Bridge, about 130 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

"It's a heavy toll on volunteers who train very hard and are dedicated to respond to all these types of situations," Schroeder said.

"Certainly firefighters are — along with the entire community — mourning the loss of this magnitude, these individuals. We'll certainly try to continue to support the family, as will the community, in a lot of ways."

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