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Maple Ridge boards up Athwal house

The duplex where a trailer was destroyed by fire in December has now been boarded up. - The NEWS/files
The duplex where a trailer was destroyed by fire in December has now been boarded up.
— image credit: The NEWS/files

A house in west Maple Ridge which was the scene of two fires during Christmas has been boarded up by the municipality.

The District of Maple Ridge took the unusual step to secure the property last week after staff discovered the homeowner Jagdev Singh Athwal has allowed tenants to return without completing renovations.

Bylaw, police and the fire department had been keeping a close watch on the duplex at 21719 117th Avenue, off 218th Street, since a mattress fire destroyed a bedroom on Dec. 23.

Three days later, around 8:30 a.m. on Boxing Day, a trailer went up in smoke.

Following the mattress fire, the fire department found there were no smoke detectors inside the house, an unsafe furnace and holes in walls.

Staff from the District of Maple Ridge cut power off to half the duplex because of the unsafe conditions, said fire chief Dane Spence.

A stop work order was also issued due to construction being done inside the house without proper permits or inspections.

The district told the homeowner no one could live in the property until it was repaired and inspected by the district.

Spence said the fire department discovered the homeowner had “multiple individuals” living there, in violation of the district’s no occupancy notice.

“Mr. Athwal was renting the house out without any power without even the basis regard to fire and life safety issues,” Spence added.

The house will remain boarded until repairs are complete.

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