Overnight fire destroys businesses in New Westminster
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- The New Westminster Police Department’s Major Crime Unit has been called in to help determine the cause of an overnight fire.
Multiple businesses were destroyed in the blaze at the New Westminster-Burnaby border.
The flames broke out shortly before 1 a.m. Friday morning near 12th Street and 10th Avenue.
The business complex is located on the New Westminster side of the intersection, but crews from both cities responded.
“We’ve got a joint task force here. Five units from New Westminster as our first full alarm assignment, and five units from Burnaby,” said Deputy Chief Curtis Bremner of New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services.
Bright orange flames and heavy smoke were already pouring out of the roof when first responders arrived.
They tried to stop the spread, but at least five of the attached units were impacted.
Neighbour Mark Davidson, who lives across the street, described hearing a loud explosion.
"For it to blow all the way over across the street," he said in astonishment. "There is glass you can see everywhere. Possibly a gas leak?”
The majority of the damage was inside Master Fade barbershop and HD Stone, a kitchen cabinet showroom.
An attached appliance store, a spa and empty unit also suffered smoke and water damage.
Fire officials say no one was inside at the time, so there were no injuries.
It appears there was some sort of explosion inside one of the units.
Broken glass littered the roadway and the sidewalk across the street.
Bremner says fighting the fire was a challenge.
“These old structures are very complicated because they’re old. The fire is in the ceiling space. It’s just a lot of hard work to get to the ceiling and put the water on the fire,” he explained.
The fire was very stubborn, forcing crews to remain on scene to monitor hot spots for several hours.
“The crews are doing a fantastic job. This is a lot of hard work. A lot of co-operation from Burnaby and New West. It’s a challenging fire, but they are doing a good job and working hard,” Bremner said.
Fire officials say it’s too soon to say what sparked the blaze or if it is suspicious.
Police are asking anyone with dash cam or CCTV footage to come forward.