Fire destroys three-storey apartment block
Fire destroyed all 32 units in a three-storey apartment building in Uptown New Westminster early Friday morning.
The blaze broke out about 1:30 a.m. and spread quickly forcing its more on the northwest corner of Ash Street and Fourth Avenue to flee. By Friday afternoon, fire officials had confirmed nobody was missing.
Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, chair of the city's emergency preparedness committee, said New Westminster's fire department, with the help of Burnaby and Delta firefighters gave it a good effort but the blaze spread quickly through the soffits and ducts.
Smoke continued to billow from the blaze several hours after it began.
The cause of the fire had not been determined. The intersection of Fourth and Ash was closed off, as well as Eighth Street between Third and Fifth avenues.
The city set up an emergency reception centre at Centennial Lodge in Queen's Park for those displaced by the blaze. City spokesman Blair Fryer said only six residents of the building reported there with the others finding their own place to stay. Fryer said the city will provide them emergency shelter and hotel accommodation for 72 hours. After that, the city will work with social service agencies and BC Housing to find them places to live.
Another 110 from three adjacent buildings evacuated during the fire also reported to the reception centre. Late Friday morning residents of one of the buildings were allowed to return. Air quality testing for smoke and carbon dioxide will be carried out on the other two before they will be allowed to return.
Donations to help the fire victims can be made through the Salvation Army (clothing and small household items, 325 Sixth St., 604-521-0363), St. Barnabas Church (clothing, small household items, small furnishing, 1010 Fifth Street, 604-526-6646) and Shiloh United Church Hospitality Project (clothing and small household items, 1111 Sixth Avenue).