VANCOUVER – Firefighters were on the scene of an East Vancouver fire for hours on Saturday following a massive apartment fire.
Flames broke out just after midnight at 748 East Broadway, between Prince Albert and Fraser Street, and dozens of residents have been forced from their homes.
Fire crews believe everyone got out safely and without injury, but the building is destroyed.
Neighbouring buildings suffered smoke and water damage.
“When crews arrived on scene, flames were showing, heavy smoke,” says assistant chief Joe Foster from Vancouver Fire Rescue. “It went from a one-alarm assignment to a working fire very quickly and a second-alarm even faster.”
“It was a very challenging fire because the two buildings on either side of the fire building, it was only a six-inch space so our goal was to keep those uninvolved buildings from burning.”
Residents who do not have family or friends to stay with will be housed at a local hotel until they can return to their homes.
But it is unclear when that will happen.
“My first instinct was to wake my girlfriend up, get her out of the house and run around the rest of the apartments and wake up everybody I could,” says resident Mike Dewall. “So I went and knocked on all the doors and the one family above me was passed right out and the only reason they woke up is because I went and knocked on the door.”
The cause of the three-alarm fire is unknown and under investigation.
All residents have now been accounted for.
Broadway between Prince Albert and Fraser was shut down to traffic for a number of hours, but it has since reopened.