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Fire rips through Langley condo complex

Dec. 12, 2016, Langley, B.C. - Dozens of people are homeless after a fire ripped through a four-storey condominium complex Sunday morning.

December 12, 2016
By The Canadian Press

Rory Thompson, fire chief for the City of Langley, said crews received a call about a fire on a fourth floor balcony around 10 a.m. and about 55 firefighters were still attacking the flames several hours later.

A release from the City of Langley said all residents of the building were safely evacuated.

Thompson said two firefighters and a resident rescued from the top floor were all taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Dan McDonald lives on the building’s second floor and said he was jolted awake by the sound of fire alarms Sunday morning.

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“Heck of a way to start your Sunday,” he said outside his building, describing the scene as “surreal.”

Video taken at the scene shows massive flames bursting from the top of the building amid thick, dark smoke. Pieces of the top floor can be seen tumbling breaking free and tumbling to the ground below.

“When I first came outside, there was a little bit of a fire,” McDonald said. “And then within 20 minutes, there was 50, 60-foot flames shooting off the top of the building. All things considered, I think these guys (the firefighters) have done a bang-up job.”

Several residents said they had to leave the building so abruptly that treasured pets were left behind.

Danielle Loynton, lives on the third floor and couldn’t get her five-year-old cat, Dexter, out of the building because he ran when the fire alarm went off.

“I just ran out and I’ve been standing out here ever since, just waiting,” said Loynton, who stood outside wrapped in a blanket some neighbours gave her.

The City of Langley said an information session would be held Sunday night to advise residents on what will happen next.

Thompson said there are about 60 units in the building and it’s unlikely the residents can return home any time soon.

The building does have sprinklers, he said, but not in the area where the fire appears to have started.

“In this particular case, it looks like the fire may have started on the balcony of one of the fourth floor suites and then quickly spread up into the attic space. So while there are sprinklers in each suite and in the hallways, that’s not where the fire was.”

Thompson said there’s no indication yet as to what caused the fire.


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