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Up to 60 people displaced after ‘extensive’ Vancouver apartment fire

Flames shoot out of a Vancouver apartment building on April 18, 2020. Justin Blais

Vancouver fire officials say between 40 and 60 people have been displaced after flames ripped through a four-storey apartment building Saturday afternoon.

Fire Chief Ken Gemmill said firefighters were called to the area of 72 Avenue and Cartier Street in the Marpole neighbourhood around 3 p.m.

“Flames were coming out of the roof” when crews arrived on the scene, Gemmill said, with the fire engulfing the wood-frame building.

“It was a very extensive fire.”

READ MORE: 1 person rescued as Vancouver fire crews battle back-to-back blazes

Crews were able to knock down the blaze, but Gemmill said the damage is extensive, with at least eight units fully gutted.

Gemmill said the dozens of displaced tenants from units neighbouring the ones that were destroyed won’t be allowed back into the building “quite possibly for some time.”

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He added that maintaining physical distancing during the firefight was tough for crews.

READ MORE: Fire guts apartment in Vancouver’s West End, officials say no one home at time

“We have 40 to 60 displaced tenants, plus you have everyone using [Marpole Park across the street from the building], so everyone gets tight and anxious with the fire crews going and getting their personal belongings,” he explained.

“So it was difficult at first for crews to keep people away just so we could go in and do our job.”

No one was injured in the fire or during the evacuations, and there were no reports of any injured or dead animals, Gemmill said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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