Fatal fire in downtown Vancouver: Off-duty paramedic describes trying to save neighbour
Warning: this story contains details that some readers may find upsetting.
One person has died following a fire in Vancouver Friday.
Officials told CTV News that paramedics performed life-saving measures on the male of unknown age, but despite CPR, he could not be revived.
First responders said the fire was reported shortly before noon at the building on Hornby Street north of Pacific Street.
Emergency Health Services said several paramedics responded, but no one was taken to hospital. Fire crews said the male victim died.
Video posted on social media shows flames pouring from the balcony of a suite in the building.
Assistant Chief Richard Craven, of Vancouver Fire Rescue Service, told CTV News the fire was contained to a single suite on the seventh floor.
“Crews are up there right now looking to see what damage there is to other suites," Craven said. "But the fire was contained to that one suite only.”
The two-alarm blaze brought 60 firefighters to the scene and prompted the evacuation of the building, according to Craven.
While crews were battling the blaze, a woman allegedly snuck into one of their trucks and attempted to steal their belongings.
The Vancouver Police Department told CTV News firefighters caught the woman "rooting through their things."
"They took back what was theirs and handed her over to police," said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison in an email.
WITNESSES SAY THE VICTIM JUMPED
Gord Mafatow lives in the building where the fire occurred, next door to the unit where the fire apparently began.
He told CTV News he heard someone knocking on his door and yelling that there was a fire.
"I went and looked in the hallway and saw smoke coming from the unit next to mine," Mafatow said. "I tried knocking on the door and kicking it in because I had a fire extinguisher in my unit. And then couldn’t do it so I went back into my unit and called 911."
An off-duty paramedic, Mafatow said he heard glass breaking as he quickly made his way out of the building.
“I went into the back courtyard and I saw the gentleman that was in the unit," Mafatow said. "I guess he jumped. So I went up to him and my paramedic training kicked in.”
Another witness described hearing calls for help coming from the unit where the fire was burning, and CTV News has seen video of a person falling from the balcony.
Mafatow said he and other responders tried their best to save the man, but were unable to do so.
Though the victim was his neighbour, Mafatow said he didn't know the deceased man personally.
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