Officials investigating massive fire that destroyed 12 homes at Kitchener construction site
KITCHENER -- A dozen homes were destroyed in a fire at a Kitchener construction site on Tuesday evening.
The inital call came in around 7:50 p.m., and a couple hours later three fire trucks and aerial crews were still putting out flames on Beckview Drive near Huron and Fischer-Hallman Roads.
Fire prevention officer Richard Brooks told CTV News 12 homes that were under construction were destroyed, and another six are damaged.
Brooks says high winds caused the fire to spread quickly.
"It could've been a lot worse. It could've jumped the street. We already had exposure damage on buildings across the street," he said.
Area residents also had concerns of the fire spreading closer to their homes.
"I was afraid it was going to catch all the way down there and I said 'is it going to come across here? Are we going to be able to breathe?'" said Marie Erickson, who lives nearby.
No injuries have been reported, but damage estimates are over $1 million.
Crews will be on scene overnight watching for hot spots.
The Ontario Fire Marshal was originally called to the scene, but local fire officials said they've been called off.
The fire department said they left the scene and won't return for now, since there's nothing physical to investigate as everything has "burned to the ground."
Officials said there is a lot of video surveillance in the area, which they'll go through to determine if the fire is suspicious. They expect to receive that video by the end of Wednesday.
"I've never seen something so fast, like burnt so fast, and it was so large, like with the wind," said Kitchener resident Amanda McDonagh, who lives nearby. "It was just going to the next house, to the next house, to the next house."
Lirjon Ferizi and his sister, Erjona, were on their way to scene Wednesday as their parents bought one of the homes.
"We were supposed to move in in January a year later," Lirjon said. "It is sad, your family works so hard for something and you can see it going down to the ground."
"It had three bathrooms upstairs. I was excited to move into it, because I knew I was going to have my own bathroom up there," Erjona said.
Officials say the fire could've been a lot worse, as crews managed to control the blaze before it spread even further.
"If the fire had been any closer, this whole entire block could have gone up in flames," Brooks said.
With reporting from Jeff Pickel.