VANCOUVER -- Dozens of people staying at a Burnaby motel spent the night outside in the cold as fire crews battled an intense fire inside one suite.

Firefighters were notified of the blaze and arrived at the 401 Inn on Boundary Road shortly after 2 a.m. on Saturday morning. 

Assistant Fire Chief Greg Young said crews discovered smoke and flames in what they determined to be a second alarm fire requiring 11 fire trucks. 

“There was an occupant rescued from the second floor balcony when crews arrived,” Young said.

“That person was provided (with) medical attention.” 

Three people were taken to hospital for smoke inhalation but otherwise crews were able to account for everyone who had been staying in the fully booked motel, Young said.

Crews were able to contain the fire to one suite and put it out, but several other motel suites were damaged by water.

“They did a good job and knocked it down quite quickly as it was quite chaotic when they first arrived,” Young said. 

A transit bus was brought to the motel for displaced guests to stay in and keep warm 

“We’ve been here all night long freezing with no where to go,” said Ana Nardelli-Adao, a guest at the motel. 

Nardelli-Adao recalled and described the frantic scene when she and her boyfriend first heard fire alarms and yelling.

“People were banging on the doors screaming ‘fire’ and telling people to get out,” she said. 

“(Now) we don’t know where we’re going to go or if we will get our money back.” 

Nardelli-Adao said she was hesitant to stay inside the bus shelter because she was concerned about COVID-19 transmission. 

Meanwhile guests Luisa Castillo and Alain Dumont who were inside the bus shelter described having to escape the building through the balcony of their suite on the first floor. 

“We opened the door, there was a lot of smoke, you couldn’t see anything it was dark,” Dumont said. 

“Then we looked outside and there was a big fire and a balcony lit on fire. You could hear the crackling.”