Fire rips through Pitt Meadows town house complex
Published Monday, September 7, 2015 3:52AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, September 7, 2015 7:23PM PDT
An explosive fire spread through a Pitt Meadows townhouse complex Sunday night leaving several families homeless.
Eight suites were damaged in the Harris Road Housing Co-op near 119th Avenue and 193rd Street.
Jaclyn Lonson’s parents live in one of the affected units and her aunt lives a few doors down.
“My mom said she had no time to react. She just grabbed her purse and my dad grabbed her because she was in a panic,” Lonson said.
Lonson said her relatives didn’t realize there was a fire until a neighbour banged on their doors with a hockey stick.
“It was going so fast, the fire was going so fast I don’t’ know if they didn’t hear him, if he didn’t come to the door I don't know what would have happened,” Lonson said.
Witnesses said they heard multiple explosions. When the fire department arrived four townhouse units were already burning.
Connor Ward-Cox captured video of the fire as it engulfed a truck parked in front of one suite.
“When I managed to get better looks at everything I could see the fire was through the entire town home in five minutes it was two units on fire another five minutes it was four,” he said.
Leslie Farkas said the fire started when his truck exploded and the flames spread to his carport.
“The flames were shooting out of the windows, like shooting out of the truck and at that point it was catching the carport on fire,” he said. “Lost everything unfortunately.”
One person was taken to the hospital in stable condition. Fire crews called in reinforcements from the neighbouring community of Maple Ride and crews were still putting out hotspots early Monday morning.
Pitt Meadows Fire Chief Don Jolly said a total of 17 people were displaced by the fire and some returned to retrieve precious possessions including baby pictures.
“All but one family went to relatives. One family has been put up in a hotel by Emergency Social Services,” he said.
Investigators believe the fire started in the pick-up truck that was parked in the midst of the row of burned units. At least two other vehicles were burned and were moved away from the building to be used as potential evidence for investigators.
Five units were gutted by the fire while three more have smoke and water damage.
Investigators were still on the scene Monday afternoon, working to determine the exact cause of the blaze.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim and Maria Weisgarber