'Thank you firefighters,' kids say after blaze extinguished at neighbour's home
Published Friday, December 7, 2018 7:36AM PST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2018 10:23AM PST
Traffic was rerouted for hours as firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze at a house in East Vancouver.
The fire was sparked early Friday morning at a home on East 43rd Avenue near Earles Street. Crews called to the scene at around 5:30 a.m. arrived to find flames shooting from the roof of the house.
Initially they were concerned about the fire spreading to two neighbouring homes, but they were able to contain it to the initial house.
It took a lot of water but firefighters were able to get the flames to subside and were able to gain access to the inside of the home before 8 a.m. They could be seen going in and out, carrying boxes of the owners' belongings.
On-Duty Asst. Chief Dan Stroup said investigators are working to determine where the fire started, but that heavy damage was noticed near the rear of the building.
"There were tenants downstairs, the owners were upstairs, but everybody was able to get out," he said. No injuries have been reported.
A family living next door woke up to the sound of their neighbour screaming about the fire and one of their windows breaking from the heat.
"Honestly I was so scared about my kids, about my two cars, about my stuff… I'm looking everywhere and oh my goodness, it's a nightmare," Aida Rekik told CTV News.
She said she was shaking as she struggled to get dressed quickly and get out. They ran from their home as the fire got worse.
Her children, Karim and Lina El Arbi, said they were woken by their mother's calls, and saw the orange light coming from the flames outside.
Karim said he saw someone take a garden hose and try to spray the fire, but as it grew, she had to abandon her efforts.
"I thought we were going to die," 10-year-old Lina said.
Fortunately, they were all safe. A kind neighbour took them in and offered them tea.
"They are an angel," Aida said.
They were allowed back into their home to survey the damage and found broken glass and burn marks on the wall, but it could have been much worse.
"Thank you very much firefighters," the children said.
And Aida added, "Because if you weren't here, we could have not got out of our house, and our house would be burned down."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott