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Burnaby house gutted by fire believed to be home to squatters

Crews extinguish a fire at a Burnaby home on Nov. 17, 2018.
Crews extinguish a fire at a Burnaby home on Nov. 17, 2018. Global News

Burnaby crews were called to extinguish a fire at a vacant home on Saturday morning.

Assistant fire chief Barry Mawhinney said police called crews to the home at 6th Street and Wedgewood Street shortly before 9 a.m.

They arrived to find smoke billowing from three sides of the building.

READ MORE: 4 homes go up in flames in massive Vancouver fire

Crews, however, held off on entering the property on the advice of police, Mawhinney said.

“We’d had reports from RCMP that they’d had this house on file from previous incidents,” he said.

“There was some question that we should be going in as to the nature of what may be inside, they’d had squatters and whatnot.”

WATCH: (Aired May 31) Four homes damaged in East Vancouver fire

Four homes damaged in East Vancouver fire
Four homes damaged in East Vancouver fire

Crews fought the fire from the outside, and eventually opened up the home and conducted a search. Firefighters found no one inside, and said they were unaware of anyone being injured.

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Neighbour Gerry Hunter told Global News that the home and an adjacent vacant commercial property have become a magnet for homeless people in recent years.

READ MORE: Crews douse flames at East Vancouver property with history of fires

“There’s frequently a whole lot of rubbish around the area. The house had been boarded up partly,” he said.

“There was definitely signs of habitation. At one point the whole [commercial] building itself had clearly been broken into.”

Firefighters say the fire broke out in the basement of the home, but it is too early to speculate on a cause. A fire investigator is now trying to determine what happened.