3 bodies found during investigation into Langley house fire
VANCOUVER -- Homicide investigators have found a total of three bodies during their investigation into a house fire in Langley.
One person was initially reported dead. Detectives from the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team began their investigation Saturday, but in an update posted to Twitter Sunday said three bodies had been found.
All three deaths are linked to the fire, but only one has been ruled a homicide, so far, IHIT said in a release Sunday evening.
The blaze broke out sometime before 6 p.m. in a home on Wakefield Drive near 196 Street. Video from the scene showed a home fully engulfed in flames and a plume of smoke shooting into the air.
IHIT said Langley RCMP officers found a man's body at the back of the house. The man had suffered "injuries indicative of homicide," IHIT said. He has since been identified as a resident of the home.
The identities of the other two bodies have not been confirmed, and IHIT said it is working with the BC Coroners Service to determine their causes of death.
Jessica Wenzoski lives next door with her husband and three daughters under the age of five. She says two of the girls were in the bath when her husband came in the back door and said the neighbour’s house was on fire.
“I grabbed my kids out of the tub, we ran outside and our house was catching on fire -- it just happened like that,” she told CTV News Vancouver. “It was terrifying.”
Her husband’s grandmother lives in the basement, and police officers had to rush in to help her escape. The family was also reunited with their cat after the fire was put out.
“He stinks like smoke but he’s ok,” said Wenzoski.
The family is now staying with Wenzoski’s father-in-law who came by Sunday morning to help the young family.
Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Ferguson of Langley Township Fire said the Wenzoski home was damaged, but repairable.
"The siding is burnt off, burnt through the windows, got in under the soffits and into the attic space,” he said.
The owner of the home where the fire started lives in the Interior, according to another resident, Bill Crompton. Neighbours say a family had been renting the house for about three years.
Wenzoski says the couple there was friendly.
“The dad was always working on the yard, really nice, we chatted -- my daughter always played with their puppy. The mom always pinched my kids' cheeks, she was very nice.”
A spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Services told CTV News Vancouver several ambulances responded to the scene, but no one was transported to hospital. One patient was treated for minor injuries at the scene, EHS said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, and IHIT said neighbours should expect "frequent activity" from investigators at the home in the coming days.
In addition to the main structure and the home next door, a third house suffered heat damage from the fire, Ferguson said.
A total of five fire trucks and 25 firefighters responded to the scene, he said.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the IHIT information line at 877-551-4448. Tips can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.