Couple homeless after fire tears through Vancouver building
Published Monday, October 16, 2017 8:46AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 16, 2017 6:41PM PDT
A fire that broke out on Vancouver's west side overnight has gutted a local business and left the owners homeless.
The blaze was reported at a three-storey building on West Broadway near Manitoba Street around 10 p.m. Sunday. Flames were already shooting through the roof by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
Crews were able to prevent the fire from spreading to neighbouring properties, but the building, which housed an African drum store, was destroyed.
"We have a couple of big structures both to the east and to the west of the structure, and there was no damage to either one of those," Deputy Chief Brian Godlonton said. "The firefighters did an exceptional job under the circumstances."
A couple who lived upstairs and owned the store told CTV News they barely managed to escape with their cat.
"Thank God we got out – 30 seconds was what we had,” Lisa Walker said. “It was that fast.”
The couple said they lost everything they have in the fire, including their car. They have set up a GoFundMe page to help them rebuild their lives.
The initial 911 call came from Vancouver Whitecaps star Alphonso Davies, who played earlier in the night then went out to dinner with friends in the area. He noticed the flames on his way home.
"The fire was really big. It actually was in the back mostly, but the flames were getting higher and higher," Davies said.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported.
It’s unclear how the fire started, but investigators are expected to arrive on scene Monday morning to try and pinpoint a cause.
Crews said there were a couple vehicles in the alley behind the building that burned as well, potentially because of arcing power lines out back.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim