Massive fire in Langley destroys condo towers under construction; dozens evacuated
LANGLEY, B.C. -- A four-building pre-sale condo development nearing completion has been all-but levelled after a massive fire broke out in Langley Monday.
The flames broke out about 9:30 p.m near 80th Avenue and 208th Street. The fire sent embers flying, where they started another fire a block away, heat from the flames melted the siding on a neighbouring home.
“I just heard a massive explosion,” said Meisam Khaleghpanah, who was evacuated from his building next door.
“There were people just shouting and screaming, ‘Oh, it's a fire, it’s a fire,’” he said.
When crews arrived two of the towers were already on fire, but it quickly spread through the wood frame buildings.
Metro-Can Construction, which is the contractor for the site, said all four buildings at the Alexander Square Development, which were unoccupied and at various stages of construction, were affected.
By Tuesday, all that was left standing were two elevator shafts and the remnants of one of the buildings on the south side of the development.
Flames continued to flare up into Tuesday evening, with firefighters dousing hotspots from ladder trucks.
Saving neighbouring condos and townhomes at other developments that were occupied was one of the priorities for firefighters during the height of the fire.
“About a block away, because of the size of the fire, an ember (had travelled and) started a fire inside of another apartment. So crews did a really good job to get … that really quickly,” said deputy chief Andy Hewitson with the Township of Langley Fire Department.
Hewitson said it’s one of the worst fires he’s ever seen.
“It truly is one of those fires that you rarely see in your career," he said. "So it's a very big event.”
The raining ashes were hot enough to leave damage more than a block away.
“Where the embers had fallen pieces of his truck melted,” Meagan Dumont told CTV News Tuesday about her boyfriend’s truck.
Michelle Molnar, who lives across the street from the development, said the siding and windows on her townhouse melted due to the intense heat.
“It was incredibly emotional because we’re so lucky this is all the damage we have,” she said. “If the wind had started blowing the other way it would have been a different story.”
Metro-Can Construction says a security guard and an employee from the company were at the building when the fire broke out. There were no injuries to them or any firefighters.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and officials say it’s too early to know the cause.
While there is no indication the fire is suspicious, the fire department is asking anyone with video of the fire or dash cam or security camera footage from the area between about 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m Monday to contact them to assist in the investigation.
A development website lists the project as being sold-out. It’s unclear what may happen next for buyers.
The fire department says there is no chance of saving any part of the development, which would have created hundreds of homes.
“It’s a pile of rubble and hole in the ground right now,” said seputy fire chief Bruce Ferguson.
Fire crews are expected to be on scene putting out hotspots for several days.