The cause of an early morning fire in East Vancouver is still under investigation, but officials with Vancouver Fire Rescue say the blaze does not appear suspicious.
The fire on the 1300 block of Commercial Drive broke out just after 1 a.m. on Monday. Assistant Chief Ron Coulson says four suites were completely destroyed, but that’s not all.
“There was extensive smoke damage and water damage to the remaining suites, which resulted in approximately twenty residents being displaced and put in the care of Emergency Social Services in the City of Vancouver,” he said.
Coulson says one person suffered non life-threatening injuries in the fire, reportedly the result of rushing into the burning building to save a pet.
He says that’s not something fire officials recommend doing as that should be left to the professionals, who have the gear and the training needed to carry out rescues.
Resident Beau Bennett was on his way home when he saw the building was on fire: “It looked like the Gates of Hell were coming out of those two apartment.”
Bennett says he rushed in to help one of his neighbours who was still in her apartment.
“I know how to get into her place, so I ran in there, ran into her place, grabbed her, took her out… and I understood, as soon as I opened up the door into the hallway of her room, I understood why she didn’t leave, because it was flooded with smoke.”
Another resident thought it was a joke.
“I didn’t take it seriously at first because…there’s always something going off…and then I could feel the apartment getting hotter. And then someone banged on my door.”
At least 20 people are out of their homes due to the fire.