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Apartment fire leaves dozens homeless

Residents had to be evacuated after a fire at an apartment building on MacIntosh Avenue in downtown Maple Ridge on Thursday. - Jim Coulter/THE NEWS
Residents had to be evacuated after a fire at an apartment building on MacIntosh Avenue in downtown Maple Ridge on Thursday.
— image credit: Jim Coulter/THE NEWS

A fire that broke out in an apartment building Thursday night in Maple Ridge has left dozens homeless.

The blaze started around 11:30 p.m. in third floor suite of the four-storey building on McIntosh Avenue, near 223rd street in the downtown core.

Most of the people who live in the wood-frame building got out safely, but three tenants had to be rescued from balconies after hallways filled with smoke.

Eva Lindgren was asleep in her third-floor suite, but was woken up by her son, who was alerted to the blaze down the hall after smoke alarms sounded.

"He yelled, 'mom you've got to get up,'" said Lindgren, who ran outside dressed only in a coat as thick black smoke billowed out of the building.

Nineteen of 30 tenants are currently being housed in a hotel, while others are bunking with friends and family.

Lindgren and her sister Janice will be staying in a hotel until Saturday, but she remains worried about where they are going to live once their three-day allowance for food, clothing and shelter runs out.

"Everything in the apartment is gone," said Lindgren.

"I just bought all my Christmas presents."

Crews remained on scene overnight and had to extinguished a flare-up Friday morning.

Assistant fire chief Mark Smitton said there were no serious injuries, but people who inhaled smoke were checked out by paramedics on scene.

Ceri Marlo, with the District of Maple Ridge's emergency social services, said the fire department will be updating residents about the damage caused by the fire.

"We've indicated to them last night that it wasn't looking good to go back into the building."

She added the district will be bringing in several agencies to help those affected by the fire make longer term arrangements.

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• If you would like to help the people affected by the fire, call the District of Maple Ridge at 604-463-5221.

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