Fire ravaged a 70-year-old house in downtown Maple Ridge early Wednesday.
A family of six has rented the home, at the corner of 223rd Street and 119th Avenue, for the past eight years. It was one of two original farm homes in downtown Maple Ridge.
One of the sons alerted everyone in the house about the fire at 5:33 a.m. and everyone escaped unscathed
“Thank God,” said Christina Evanow, wrapped in a bed sheet.
She lived in the house with her husband and four children, ages 14-20. She was asleep when she heard yelling, then crackling, “like a zipper.”
She said the west side of the house, by the kitchen, was a wall of flames, which were shooting through the roof.
The family ran out the east doorway, onto 223rd St., with only what they were wearing at the time and aren’t sure what they will be able to salvage when they are allowed back inside.
Neighbours gave them blankets and sheets.
“I don’t know what we are going to do,” Evanow said.
Her boys will need shoes.
A preliminary investigation by the fire department found that the blaze started on the outside and was lit under “suspicious” circumstances.
It was one of three fire lit in short succession. The other fires targeted a dumpster and a second home.
“The back of the house was well involved when we arrived,” said assistant fire chief Howard Exner.
The fire then extended through the windows into the attic space.
Neighbours report seeing two people running away from old home, which was built in the 1930s.
Exner said it’s been owned by the same family since 1945.
“It’s a substantial loss for the family,” he added.
Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating but say it is too early to link the fire to a string of arsons in the downtown core since May.
– with files from Monisha Martins