UPDATE (Sept.8, 2015): Donations are being accepted for several families who lost everything in a fire at their housing co-op in Pitt Meadows. The co-op itself is not taking donations, but if you want to help, please contact the Salvation Army or Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows community services.
WATCH (above): Eight families were left homeless after a fire swept through their Pitt Meadows housing comples. Grace Ke reports.
At least eight families are homeless following a fire that ripped through housing in Pitt Meadows on Sunday night.
Firefighters were called to the Harris Road Housing Co-op on 119th Avenue just after 7 p.m. Sunday night. When crews arrived they found four units and several cars on fire. One of the residents had gone around the complex and knocked on the doors to let everyone know about the fire.
One witness, Rachel McKee said, “I swear it went up in less than 10 minutes, it was so fast.”
Ellen Gillam, who lives at the co-op, said when the fire started they could see the flames under two vehicles parked outside. The fire quickly spread.
An additional 10 firefighters were called in from Maple Ridge to help battle the blaze. According to Pitt Meadows Fire, the blaze was so intense and unstable that crews could not get inside to put the hot spots out. Instead, they spent the night keeping an eye on the embers.
A total of eight units were damaged. BC Ambulance said one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries and emergency social services was called in to help displaced residents.
Six of the eight families did not have insurance. The building is about 40 years old and did not have any sprinklers, despite being renovated in the past decade.
The cause of the fire is currently not known, but investigators say it is considered suspicious.
“Certainly the fire is suspicious in nature, given it started outside of the building,” said Pitt Meadows Fire Chief Don Jolly. “How it is suspicious really is unclear at this time as again, as we’ve gone through the day, we’re getting more and more conflicting rumours.”
A Facebook group has been set up to help families displaced by the fire.