Hundreds of Maple Ridge residents have been displaced after a massive fire at a construction site jumped to a neighbouring apartment building.
Maple Ridge firefighters were called to a large structure fire around midnight near Brown Ave. and Edge Street.
“This was a very, very large fire. We had around 60 firefighters working the incident,” said Michael van Dob, Maple Ridge’s fire chief.
“The thermal energy of this fire transferred across the lane, quite handily, and ignited a significant portion of the neighbouring building.”
When they arrived, they found a large apartment building, which was under construction, fully engulfed in flames.
A nearby resident, Halen Lindberg, witnessed the entire situation unfold.
“It lit the (construction) building on fire, burned right through it. The building beside it, a house, burnt down, and the house on the other side burnt down (as well),” he told Global News on Saturday.
“Then the finished (occupied) building caught fire around midnight. (The fire) burnt right through the east side of the building, clear through to the other side.
“There were people in the building around midnight without fire alarms going off, banging on each other’s doors.”
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The fire was still burning around eight hours after the ignition.
Lindberg said foam insulation was catching fire and was lofted into the air by wind. He said pieces of insulation that were on fire were floating around the neighbourhood for blocks.
“Firebombs were dropping for about a kilometre to the west. There were four-by-two-foot chunks coming down on top of people’s homes and yards,” Lindberg said.
“Super grateful for the rain (Friday) night. If it happened the night before, six to ten blocks of Maple Ridge would have been on fire.”
Dozens of firefighters were at the scene battling the blaze, some from other nearby communities.
A police officer was taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation.
The area remains closed off Saturday and people are being advised to stay away, while an investigation looks into the fire.
Emergency Support Services are looking after the displaced residents.