White Rock firefighters extinguished an early morning blaze at Deals World. (Randy Cosenzo photo)

UPDATE: Fire at Deals World in White Rock

Johnston Road blocked south of Thrift Avenue

Emergency crews responded to an early-morning fire at Deals World Wednesday.

Randy Cosenzo, who lives in a condo behind Deals World, said he went outside at around 5 a.m. after smelling smoke but couldn’t spot the fire.

Shortly after returning to his condo, the RCMP arrived at Deals World, he said.

“Boom, there’s RCMP and smoke coming from the building.”

He said the fire appeared to have started on the east side of the building, which faces a back alley.

“The north wall is completely exposed now,” Cosenzo said.

“The most amount of flame there was, was about a foot of flame out of the top. It wasn’t a three alarm fire.”

White Rock Fire Department deputy fire Chief Bob Schlase told Peace Arch News on the scene that firefighters were called at approximately 5:30 a.m. He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the majority of the fire damage is limited to the northeast side of the building.

White Rock firefighters tapped multiple hydrants and RCMP blocked Johnston Road from Thrift to Roper avenues; the road has since been reopened to traffic.

Area resident Tom Oakes told PAN the fire appeared to have started “in the back by the dumpsters.”

“Roof damage also on top of the loading dock,” Oakes wrote.

The property, at 1350 Johnston Rd., is to be the site of a 12-storey mixed-use highrise development.

White Rock council approved the project in October, after an adjustment was made to the plan that reduced its height to bring it in line with guidelines for the Lower Johnston area in the new Official Community Plan.

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A section of Johnston Road was blocked Wednesday morning as White Rock firefighters extinguished a fire at Deals World. (Aaron Hinks photo)

A section of Johnston Road was blocked Wednesday morning as White Rock firefighters extinguished a fire at Deals World. (Aaron Hinks photo)

A section of Johnston Road was blocked Wednesday morning as White Rock firefighters extinguished a fire at Deals World. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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