July 20, 2019 9:22 pm
Updated: July 21, 2019 8:44 pm

Woman killed, several others homeless after fire in Maple Ridge that refused to extinguish

Smoke billows from an engulfed Maple Ridge home where one person was killed on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

Global News
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One person is dead after a Maple Ridge home was engulfed in flames Saturday afternoon, fire crews confirm.

The fire, which broke out around 1:20 p.m., was still burning hours after crews arrived at the home on Dewdney Trunk Road and 264 Street, Maple Ridge Fire Chief Howard Exner said.

“Several people living in the house managed to get out themselves, but one person was believed to be trapped inside the house,” he said.

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“Eventually we were able to make entry into the house and bring that person outside, and unfortunately that person succumbed to their injuries.”

Exner clarified Sunday the victim was a woman. Global News has reached out to the BC Coroners Service for more information.

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One survivor, who only gave his first name Anthony, said at the scene he was coming up the stairs from his suite in the basement when he ran into another tenant.

“A guy came out with a fire extinguisher and said, ‘The house is on fire,'” he said. “I was trying to see if the lady was OK inside, but I couldn’t hear anything.”

Anthony said the woman, who he did not name, was the victim found inside. He said she had some medical problems and was “really nice.”

“Definitely a shock,” he said.

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Anthony said there was so much smoke he couldn’t see inside the home.

On Sunday, four of the seven people living inside the home who survived the fire identified the woman who died as 54-year-old Terry Brown.

“I thought it was a joke, I didn’t understand what was going on,” said Daniel Hildebrandt, who wasn’t home at the time. “It hit us like a ton of bricks.”

Rachelle Beahn, who also wasn’t home, pointed to Brown’s health issues first mentioned by Anthony, saying she required an oxygen device that limited her mobility.

“She just couldn’t get out fast enough,” Beahn said.

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Two other people lived on the property in a trailer, but have also been forced to leave due the damage caused by the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by one of the residents, who says he hopes to raise enough money to support all the roommates while the seek a new home.

Exner said the home was fully involved when crews arrived on scene, requiring every Maple Ridge crew member to respond along with crews from Mission.

He added that the fire continues to burn in hard-to-reach areas that were created through multiple renovations.

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“It’s an old, old building,” Exner said. “The fire is trapped between false ceilings and false roofs.”

One other person was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, BC Emergency Health Services confirmed. Exner said that person was trying to get inside the house at the time.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and Exner couldn’t speculate on any possible reasons for the blaze.

Traffic on Dewdney Trunk Road was backed up between 264 Street and 269 Street while crews fought the fire, and remained closed for hours. It was finally reopened Saturday night.

—With files from Tanya Beja

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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