Fifty-nine people were forced out of their homes after a three-building fire in downtown Vancouver on Monday morning.
One person was taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, while a firefighter was treated on scene after debris fell on their head, according to Vancouver Fire Rescue Services.
The blaze on Powell Street at Princess Avenue began around 3:30 a.m. and involved three buildings, two of which are single-room occupancy hotels. About 50 firefighters responded.
Officials said it likely began outside when some garbage caught fire and spread faster than crews could get to it.
Carey Price apologizes for timing of pro-gun post, says he knew about Polytechnique shooting
‘It’s a pity you are beautiful,’ Russians told Ukrainian police officer as they tortured her
“There was a bit of an explosion. The fire got into both buildings simultaneously through windows, got up into the walls and into the ceiling,” said Assistant Fire Chief Pierre Morin explained.
“There’s a lot of renos and false ceilings, false walls — it’s a 1908 building — so it was difficult to get at the fire directly. About an hour into it the ceiling collapsed.”
Vancouver firefighters are in now the midst of their “mop up,” he added. There’s still about eight inches of water on every floor and a few hot spots in the west-side building.
Those displaced could be out of their homes for months, said Morin, who described the buildings as “uninhabitable for quite some time.”
Powell Street was closed between Heatley and Jackson streets.
In a written statement, BC Housing said its working with the displaced residents of the affected buildings, one of which is the Princess Rooms. All residents have been accounted for, it said.
“Individuals who have been displaced from the Princess Rooms have been provided temporary shelter at another RainCity building,” it wrote.
“Those who were staying in the private SRO are being supported with temporary shelter through Vancouver emergency response services.”