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Edmonton fire causes massive property damage


July 23, 2007   by Canadian Underwriter


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A fire that ripped through a south Edmonton neighbourhood early Sunday morning could prove to be the largest property loss due to fire in Albertas history, industry experts at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) estimate.
Michael Debolt, IBCs manager of government relations, the prairies, says that according to reports from the fire department, 18 homes were destroyed and 76 others were damaged, leaving more than 100 people homeless.
Debolt says that the IBC is still waiting to hear from its members and the extent of the damage is not yet known, but early estimates place the total loss between $20 million and $25 million. It is yet to be determined what percentage of that total is insured loss.
In terms of [residential] property damage, this could very well be the biggest loss due to fire in Albertas history, he says, certainly in the last ten years anyways.
According to numerous reports, Debolt says, the fire originated in a partially built condominium complex and spread to neighbouring town homes, adding that the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
While fire following reforms are on the table in the province, this was a normal fire that spread and under normal policies these are covered, but each policy is different, he says, advising residents to check their policy language to ensure coverage.