Three families displaced in White Rock townhouse fire

Fire chief credits residents who turned garden hoses on blaze before crews arrived with lessening damage

Firefighters battle a fire in a two-storey building Sunday night.

A Sunday night fire at a two-storey Thrift Avenue townhouse complex could have been worse had it not been for the actions of a few residents.

Fire and heavy smoke could be seen rising from the ground level of Nicole Place, at 14921 Thrift Ave., shortly before fire crews were called at 9:19 p.m. on July 17.

That’s when some quick-thinking residents turned garden hoses onto the blaze.

“When our crews got there, they had to knock down some fire on the outside, but it was significantly less (than) if residents hadn’t used some garden hoses on it from the start,” White Rock fire Chief Phil Lemire told Peace Arch News Monday. “I certainly applaud their efforts.”

The fire started on the outside of the building and spread to two units, Lemire said. Crews quickly extinguished the blaze, but continued fighting hot spots for over an hour, according to witnesses.

“Certainly the actions of some area residents lessened the potential impact of what the fire could have had on the building. Where the fire did extend into the building was in a concealed area, so there was some difficulty accessing where it was at,” Lemire said.

No one was injured in the fire, and a cause is not yet known.

“An investigation is ongoing at this point and time,” said Lemire. “We’re still piecing the puzzle together.”

Smoke and water caused significant damage to three units in the 12-year-old building. Those residents won’t be back in “for a period of time,” according to the fire chief.

Three other homes in the nine-unit wood-frame complex received light smoke damage. On Monday firefighters were still determining when those residents might be allowed to return.

 

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