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