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Police investigating fire at downtown highrise: EFRS

A fire at a downtown apartment building last week was deliberately set, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has confirmed.

The fire forced hundreds of people to leave the highrise at 10020 103 Ave. around 4:20 a.m. on Friday morning.

City hall was opened up as a warming centre for residents.

It took 14 EFRS crews to battle the fire.

People were allowed back inside at 7 a.m.

Some residents told CTV News Edmonton the building hasn’t felt safe to live or work in for some time.

One resident says the fire alarms go off in the building regularly.

“I’ve lived here for two years and this goes on all the time,” resident James McCombie said.

McCombie says he has called police and the building’s management company several times.

“People are scared to go to their mailbox at any time of the day,” he said.

“[The security guard] is here till 8 p.m. sometimes, after that, it’s a free for all.”

“Just coming in the morning finding people outside the front doors and it’s just exhausting,” said James Burns, who owns Pazzo Pazzo Restaurant on the ground floor.

Burns has operated his restaurant here for two decades, but he says things have gone downhill in the last three years.

“We used to have an overnight security guard, always doing checks, we didn’t have these issues back then.”

Burns said the fire happened just steps from his kitchen.

As of Wednesday, Pazzo Pazzo Restaurant was still closed as a result of the smoke damage.

CTV News Edmonton reached out to Mainstreet, the company that manages the building, but has not heard back.

The investigation into the fire is now with the Edmonton Police Service, EFRS said.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nicole Lampa, Evan Klippenstein, and Amanda Anderson 

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