VANCOUVER -- A deadly apartment fire in Vancouver was caused by smoking materials, local fire crews say.

The fire happened in an apartment over a storefront on Kingsway near Gladstone Street, just after 9 p.m. Monday.

Some police officers were in a restaurant across the street when the blaze broke out, and were able to respond quickly. When those officers tried to get into the building, however, they were driven back by fire conditions.

In the end, about 50 firefighters were called to the scene.

"They pulled out one male with smoke inhalation and then found one deceased male inside," said Richard Craven, assistant fire chief.

That man was between 30 and 40-years-old, fire officials say.

In a news release Tuesday, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services says the blaze happened in an illegal suite that didn't have sprinklers or smoke alarms. Investigators found smoking was the cause of the fire.

"This tragic loss is a reminder for everyone to ensure they have working smoke alarms," the news release says.

"Smoking is a leading cause of fire fatalities; ensure any smoking material is fully extinguished and disposed of in an appropriate container."

It's believed there were only two residents in the unit.