A house on Edge Street nearly went up in flames Sunday after a blaze started just off Dewdney Trunk Road, around 6:30 p.m.
But quick action by firefighters confined the fire to a back part of the property at 12038 Edge St., in what looked like a shed.
No one was home when the fire started, said Maple Ridge fire chief Dane Spence.
By the time crews arrived, the fire had spread to a neighbour’s fence.
“It looks like the tenants had moved or were in the process of moving out. There was no one there. Neighbours tell us there were squatters in the building.”
The fire was called in by neighbours.
Spence said alterations have been made to the building, which was filled with junk.
“There appears to be more than one suite in it,” said Spence.
“The fire is suspicious in origin. The house was insecure when the fire department got there.”
Tammy Pinch, who lives next door, said the fire seemed to start with an explosion.
“The whole house just vibrated. There were flames, 50 to 100 feet in the yard.”
She was worried that a boat in her carport would catch fire and was glad when the fire department hosed it off.
Pinch has been living next to the damaged house for three years and said there was always people around late at night or early morning.
“Fighting, yelling. I called the cops many times.”
It wasn’t as if there were wild parties inside, “just always constant people.”
By Tuesday, the house had been boarded up with plywood and there were “Do not trespass” signs posted, while the smell of charred timbers hung heavy in the air. A TV and couch lay in the carport, not far from a milk carton containing a book, The Golden Age of Television.
The corner lot had two or three sheds, and in what looked like an overgrown garden there was a car seat.
Ridge Meadows RCMP say there have been four calls at the property in 2011, two resulting in no action.
But a call on March 23 of this year resulted in police seizing crystal meth, cocaine and heroine from the residence, with no charges resulting from the seizure.
The only file still active is the one concerning Sunday’s fire, which is being investigated as suspicious.
Between 2006 and 2011 there have been 11 files created in the bylaws department for that property.
Spence said the property owner will be required to either tear the house down or make necessary repairs, as well as clean up the debris around the property.