VANCOUVER -- Fire crews were called to put out a massive blaze in South Vancouver Thursday evening.

Firefighters at the scene near the intersection of West 62nd Avenue and Columbia Street said they were in "defensive mode" as they tried to get control of the blaze.

The fire broke out in a four-storey apartment building under construction, which firefighters said was engulfed and "completely destroyed." 

“It was just fully engulfed in flames," says neighbour Dave Jeffery, adding he spotted flames from as far away as Main Street before he arrived. "That heat was so intense. My face was, like, burning red.”

Eric Chen lives in townhouse building next to the construction site. He said his unit is second-closest to the fire.

“Maybe my unit has some damage, hopefully there is no direct fire damage, but we don't know," Chen said. "(A) firefighter told me that there's a lot of smoke in my unit.”

He says the construction crew usually works from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week, but oddly no one was working there today.

“I don’t want to assume anything, but it is a coincidence that this happened when no one is around,” he said.

Firefighters also said there were no construction workers at the site when they arrived. They were unsure of how or where in the under-construction building the blaze began, but confirmed no one was injured in the incident.

The townhouse complex was evacuated as crews battled the blaze. At least one townhouse was burned, firefighters said.

Photos posted to social media showed flames pouring out of the under-construction building, as well as a plume of thick black smoke that could be seen from around the region.

In a tweet, Vancouver Fire Rescue Service described the blaze as a "third alarm" fire.