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House fire in East Vancouver sends woman to hospital in critical condition

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A woman is in critical condition in hospital after an aggressive house fire in East Vancouver Monday night.

The flames broke out around 9 p.m. in a home on Nanaimo Street near East 27th Avenue.

Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry says when firefighters arrived on scene, they had just seconds to spring into action because a woman was trapped on the top floor.

“There were heavy flames coming out of the top window behind me. There was a resident in that window screaming for help. Our firefighters quickly, first thing they did, was stick up a ladder and go and bring her down and rescued her,” said Fry.

The woman was taken to hospital where she remains in critical condition.

Three other people live in the home, and two of them suffered smoke inhalation.

Video posted to social media showed massive dark plumes of smoke rising from blocks away.

“It was very smoky, very smoky. There were a lot of the firemen running in and out. I could still hear a lot of the water being shot in and it was very hectic,” said Mia Workman, a witness.

The flames were fast-moving and stubborn, forcing crews to upgrade the fire to a second alarm response.

Six heavy duty fire trucks and 36 firefighters were on scene.

 

DRIVER TICKETED DURING FIRE BATTLE

Crews faced an additional challenge when a vehicle attempted to drive over their main water supply line.

They were stopped by police and handed a ticket.

The minimum fine for driving over a fire hose in Vancouver is $500, but if you’re convicted in court that increases to up to $10,000.

“They look like they're really strong but they can, under the pressure of a vehicle riding over them, they can split and break and then we lose the water for our firefighters,” said Fry.

“The last time we had one of these breakages, it actually wrapped around and broke one of our firefighters legs and he was off work for over a year,” Fry said.

It’s been an extremely busy year for Vancouver Fire.

The chief says they’re responding to about 10 fires a day in the city right now.

There’s also been a record number of injuries and nine deaths.

Fry is asking people to be vigilant about fire safety, particularly at this time of year.

She also says space heaters should never be left unattended, and Christmas trees need to be watered.

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