A Significant Decrease in Inner City Fires

In the first quarter of 2022, the City of Edmonton launched an innovative pilot project aimed at addressing a growing concern within the inner city communities - fires occurring in unsecured vacant properties.

Modeled after a successful program in Surrey, the Community Property Safety Team (CPST) was developed through a joint effort between Edmonton Fire Rescue Services and the City’s Community Standards and Neighbourhoods Branch - Complaints and Investigations section.
The initiative was born out of a pressing need to combat the increasing incidents of fires within unsecured vacant structures, particularly in the city’s northeast, which had experienced a surge in such incidents in 2021.

The CPST initiative represents a proactive approach to reducing the risk of fires in abandoned buildings. It is designed to hold absentee or unresponsive property owners accountable for properly securing their structures. The team employs a range of measures to enforce compliance, including billing or taxing landlords for fencing, boarding, and on-site security. Once the owners ensure that the necessary security measures are in place, their properties are placed on a monitoring list to ensure ongoing compliance.

The CPST team conducts physical inspections of the property to evaluate its susceptibility to fires. If a property is found to be at risk, the team issues a compliance order to ensure the building is properly secured.

These efforts have not gone unnoticed, with Edmonton fire officials reporting a significant decrease in fires inside abandoned buildings in 2023 compared to 2022.
Since its launch in April 2022, the CPST team has successfully secured 600 vacant buildings throughout the city, resulting in a 31 percent drop in structure fires within the inner city and a 12 percent reduction in residential fires since October of the same year.

While these numbers are undoubtedly encouraging, the need for their services remains pressing. Even after addressing 600 properties, the team continues to receive calls concerning many more unsecured vacant structures.

As the CPST initiative nears the end of its scheduled funding in December, the community eagerly anticipates the upcoming discussions on its future. Funding for the project will be a topic of discussion during the City’s Community Services Committee meeting on December 4, and stakeholders are eager to see what lies ahead.

To report an unsecured vacant property, call 311 or email [email protected]  

Back to Problem Properties