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Construction worker injured in White Rock blaze

Emergency crew respond to a fire at a home under construction in White Rock, where a worker was injured. - Tracy Holmes photo
Emergency crew respond to a fire at a home under construction in White Rock, where a worker was injured.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

A 32-year-old man was taken to hospital with a broken wrist and second-degree burns to 20 per cent of his body Wednesday morning, after jumping from the parapet of an under-construction home in White Rock to escape flames.

"His clothes caught fire," said Shiv Brar, owner of the house. "He jumped from the roof. We helped him to take his clothes off."

The fire broke out in the 1500-block of Maple Street, one block east of Peace Arch Hospital, at about 9:30 a.m., as framers worked in the basement and the roofer was "torching" a rubber seal, Brar said.

The fire spread "very quickly," he said.

Susanne Mayer lives across the street from the home and said she came "screaming out" to warn the workers inside as soon as she saw it.

"It started right above the garage," Mayer said, adding that the injured worker told her that a glue gun of some sort had exploded.

Witness Colleen McDonald said flames were engulfing the home when she arrived.

"It was really scary, and it was alive," she said. "You could see it crawling. It's frightening."

Deputy fire Chief Bob Schlase said investigation is underway to confirm the exact cause. It was accidental, he said.

The fire was through the roof when crews arrived. A plume of black smoke could be seen rising into the sky from as far away as Grandview Heights.

Deputy Chief Rob Atkinson said neighbouring homes were not considered in jeopardy.

"Everything was going straight up," he said.

The heat caused a propane tank inside the structure to blow, he added.

Brar said he had hoped to move into the house with his wife and two children in March.

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