Fire Fighting in Canada

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Fire destroys 100 homes in B.C. apartment complex

May 16, 2016, White Rock, B.C. - More than 100 people have lost their homes after an intense fire engulfed an apartment building in Metro Vancouver over the weekend.

The blaze flared up at a construction site in White Rock around 5 a.m. on Sunday.

It spread to a nearby apartment complex, destroying the building's nearly 70 units, as well as the ground-floor, commercial spaces.

All of the residents were able to escape the blaze.

''I think a lot of them were in shock because of course they literally only got out with clothes on their backs,'' said White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, speaking from the site of the fire.

''Some of them had time to put on outside clothes but a couple were still in their pajamas and house coats.''

The only major injury was a broken leg suffered by someone who tripped over a fire hose.

Still, Baldwin said he was struck by the relatively upbeat mood.

''I think the fact that we had done so much to help and that they knew that there were people helping and trying to do what they could lifted their spirits.''

White Rock has issued a boil-water advisory over concerns the fire may have contaminated the city's water supply. Test results should provide more conclusive information by Tuesday, Baldwin said.

The fire has drained much of White Rock's water supply, which is largely independent from the rest of Metro Vancouver, he said.

It's relatively straightforward to refill the reservoir and levels should return to normal by tomorrow, Baldwin said.

Firefighters from neighbouring Surrey helped their White Rock counterparts in putting out the flare up.

Smoke and water from the fire may have also damaged a nearby Catholic church.

By Sunday evening the blaze had been contained, though its cause is still unknown, Baldwin said.

''The human spirit is amazing and the spirit of community is very, very strong and that's really what has been shown today,'' he added.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

May 16, 2016 
By The Canadian Press

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