No smoke alarms installed in fatal East Vancouver house blaze: officials
New details are emerging about an East Vancouver fire that left a three-year-old dead, and fire officials say there are no indications any smoke alarms were even installed inside the home.
“It would appear at this time that the house did not have working smoke alarms,” said Fire Captain Jonathan Gormick told CTV News.
“We are looking over the evidence again and looking over the premise to make sure that that is in fact true.”
The two-alarm fire broke out mid-afternoon Thursday at a rental home in the area of East 15th Avenue and Nootka Street.
An extended family of 10 people lived in the home, including the three-year-old Lemus twins, their older brother, and their mother Tatiana - all of whom were inside at the time.
The deadly blaze was sparked by space heaters near the little girl’s bed, Vancouver fire officials say.
Relatives say the furnace in the home broke on Sunday, so they had borrowed a space heater it would be fixed.
The girl's mother had just put the twins down for a nap in their bedroom before the fire started. She attempted to rescue both of her daughters from the room, but was only able to escape with one of the twins and their older brother.
The mother suffered serious burns to her hands and face when she frantically tried to save the toddler, and the children were treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
Gormick says the onus is on the home’s owners - not its renters - to install smoke alarms.
The Nootka Street home is owned by people who live in Burnaby. CTV News knocked on the door but nobody answered.
Two crowdfunding pages have been set up assist the Lemus family with living and funeral costs, and more than $30,000 have been raised.
Family members who used to live in the home have been staying in a hotel, and will begin searching for new accommodations on Sunday.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sarah MacDonald