Fire crews were called to a building near Heather Street and Southwest Marine Drive at about 2:30 a.m. When they arrived, flames and smoke were venting from the roof of a three-storey, wood-frame apartment complex.
"People were asleep and they would have woken to the fire alarm and they couldn't get out because of smoke-filled hallways, so they went to their balconies with the hopes of getting the attention of fire [crews] and that's what happened," said Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Assistant Chief Dave Boone.
"They couldnt get out because of smoke-filled hallways so they went to their balconies with the hopes of getting attention," said Dave Boone, assistant chief of operations with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.
Another team went into the building and found two people who they brought out. One of them was unconscious at the time and was taken to hospital. Everyone who was rescued from the building is now conscious and in stable condition.
"So crews had quite a handful in both attacking the fire and … performing those rescues," Boone said.
By about 6:30 a.m., the fire was not yet out but crews had knocked it down significantly. Boone said the blaze had caused "severe" damage, with at least one suite completely destroyed and several others suffering from smoke and water damage.
"No one will be going back today based on the state of the building," he said, adding that the displaced residents were getting help to find temporary housing.
Fire crews were also asking drivers to stay clear of the area and multiple bus lines were rerouted.
TransLink posted on Twitter that the 10 and 17 buses were terminating at Marpole Loop due to the fire. The 3 and 100 bus were also temporarily rerouted but by 6 a.m. had resumed their regular service.
CTV News Vancouver is covering the sentencing hearing of a B.C. man who pleaded guilty to the murder of a hitchhiking tourist from Belgium.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Flames devoured a three-storey apartment building on Southwest Marine Drive and Heather Street in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, with a dozen fire trucks and other emergency vehicles blocking the road.
The fire department was called in at around 3:30 a.m., and Nikola, who lives on the third floor of the 24-unit building, says he thought the alarms were a joke at first, but then went outside and saw his neighbours crying.
BREAKING: Working fire at SW Marine Drive and Heather. About a dozen fire trucks are here spraying down a three storey apartment building. I saw at least one person being treated by paramedics @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/8Prlu7bv4l
“A couple of people were stuck on the balcony and they managed to get down with the firefighters and their ladders,” he says. “It’s a disaster.”
Flames could be seen shooting out the third floor windows as a heavy cloud of smoke drifted toward Richmond.
Neighbours tell me they heard fireworks and the sound of people screaming and laughing just before the fire started. A fire investigator is on scene. Flames visible on the third floor @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/1QdZfNXBOy
“The trees started on fire first, high up in the tree, and then it moved to the first apartment and then it really took off once it hit the apartment,” Woods says.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Asst. Chief Dave Boone says five people were trapped on balconies and those residents were rescued by ladder, but crews also had to enter the building to find two others who had become disoriented in the heavy smoke.
One of the two was unconscious but Boone says both were safely removed from the building and taken to hospital.
He says he’s been told the unconscious resident has revived and both patients are considered stable.
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