"Not a safe environment": Propane tanks explode to feed DTES fire near Imperial Theatre (VIDEOS)

Mar 20 2023, 4:34 pm

Multiple propane tanks exploded during a fire in the Downtown Eastside on Sunday.

In a video of the scene captured from a neighbour’s window, the first explosion can be heard followed by an immediate burst of orange flames. In the background, you can hear people on the street screaming, “get the dog out, get the dog out.”

More frightened cries can be heard as the fire continues to burn. A second propane tank explodes, and the fire grows larger. A third and a fourth explosion feed the fire even more — by the time the fifth propane tank explodes, the flames are as tall as the second storey of the building.

The first police car arrived around the time of the sixth explosion, and a seventh explosion is heard as more sirens wail nearby.

Firetrucks arrived on the scene and firefighters quickly doused the flames.

@brixtrix1_magicplants Fire at Main street and Hastings street Vancouver #brix #CSP #dtes ##fire #firefighter #homelessness ##vancouverfire #vancouverbc #vancouverfiredepartment ♬ original sound – Brix

Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry took to Twitter Sunday afternoon with photos of the fire, saying the situation was incredibly dangerous.

“This is not a safe environment for the residents in the area, those living in the tents and the responders,” Fry said on Twitter.

Fry didn’t say anyone was injured. Daily Hive has reached out to Vancouver Fire Rescue and the Vancouver Police Department for more details.

Fry has previously spoken about the unsafe nature of DTES encampments, and ordered the immediate removal of all tents and structures on the sidewalk of East Hastings Street last summer.

Imperial theatre damaged by fire

imperial theatre

Daniel Chai/Daily Hive

imperial fire

Daniel Chai/Daily Hive

The fire broke out in front of the Imperial Theatre, leaving the building damaged. According to the Imperial’s Instagram, it’s currently closed.

The Imperial is set to be redeveloped, with the site being the new home of mass timber social housing.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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