July 13, 2014 8:03 pm

Elderly couple temporarily homeless after fire damages their home

VANCOUVER — An elderly couple is homeless tonight in Surrey, after a fire tore through their home.

The blaze started at an abandoned home at 6:00 a.m. this morning, but jumped to the nearby residence of Shanti Devi and her husband, before crews were able to contain it. Luckily, the Devis were not at the property at the time.

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Crews didn’t know if anyone was home, so they knocked on the door and then forced entry to make sure no one was inside.  Twenty firefighters responded to the call, according to authorities. The home is now temporarily unlivable.

The fire is being treated as suspicious, which isn’t surprising to fire officials who say abandoned properties often attract illegal activity. Crews believe the flames may have been sparked by thieves attempting to steal wire.

Just two weeks ago, Devi said she complained to the City of Surrey about the derelict property. “The people who bought the house never take care of it. I complained to city, already I phoned them,” she told Global News. Devi did not follow-up.

Neighbours say they often see homeless people on the abandoned properties in the area, which are prevalent as owners leave them vacant for redevelopment. Fire officials confirm there have been several fires at uninhabited homes in the area over the past five years, and they want to see the owners be held responsible.

–With files from Tanya Beja.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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