Four homes destroyed in Maple Ridge fire

5,000 gallons of water a minute were shot at the fire in Silver Valley, Maple Ridge

Charred lumber and burned, cracked concrete foundations are all that is left of four new houses that burned to the ground Wednesday.

Fire ripped through the homes at 227th Street and 136A Avenue in Formosa Plateau, a new neighbourhood in Silver Valley in northeast Maple Ridge.

The call came in at 3:49 p.m., when two homes were already on fire, said Maple Ridge fire chief Howard Exner.

Flames spread quickly to two other houses under construction and tore off the roof and side of a fifth house that was occupied at 22731 – 136A Ave.

By the time firefighters arrived 10 minutes later, it was well underway. Exner added the fire was so hot, he had to park his truck a block away.

“It went up fast. It was raging,” one worker on site said Thursday.

Firefighters kept the fire from spreading up the mountain and sprayed water on occupied homes.

There were no injuries, although one firefighter had to be treated for heat exhaustion.

The heat even melted a plastic outhouse and charred a tree on the other side of the road.

Exner said the department is still trying to figure out what started the blaze. The homes were just about at the lockup stage, with roofs and windows in, but no siding or drywall.

A construction crew framing several houses down first noticed smoke billowing out of a home, where a deck was being tarred.

By the time they retrieved a few of their tools, three houses were already ablaze.

“It went so fast. It was just incredible,” said Ross Davies, who watched the fire from 224th Street and 136th Avenue.

The tower of flames could also be seen from Vancouver, at one point.

Barb Leclerc and her daughters ran out to join a large crowd watching the fire after they heard sirens.

“My heart’s thumping,” said Leclerc, as she watched flames quickly swallow the homes.

“It’s pretty scary.”

Workers on site had minutes to escape. Leclerc saw a man trying to salvage a ladder and tools. Other workers, standing in the heat of the inferno, lamented about the expensive tools that were melting inside.

“Luckily, no one lives in these houses, they just built them,” said Vicki, Leclerc’s daughter, who was clicking photographs of the destruction.

Exner said three trucks poured 5,000 gallons of water a minute on to the fire. A potential lack of water pressure from the hydrants was a concern. Public works crews were at the scene Thursday, checking on water line capacity.

Nine trucks and 68 firefighters fought the blaze until about 9:30 p.m. and a fire watch was kept on over night.

“We poured lots of water on this.”

– with files from Monisha Martins

Just Posted

Ridge Jr. B Flames making additions

Four players sign, two coaches join mix.

UPDATE: Two-vehicle incident on Abernethy Way, Maple Ridge

Road near 227th Street reopens in both directions.

Maple Ridge elementary protest to protect against climate change

Grade 7 Albion students march in front of municipal hall.

Maple Ridge teacher celebrated as inclusive education champion

Carissa Keenan teaches at Harry Hooge elementary.

Haney Rotary ups bursary amounts

Total is $19,000 this year, up from $11,000 in 2018.

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Burnaby facility to dispose of 1,500 tonnes of Canada’s trash from Philippines

All 103 containers will be disposed of properly within Canada before the end of the summer

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Man wants guilty plea revoked in 2012 collision in Abbotsford that killed Chilliwack woman

Michael Larocque was charged in relation to crash that killed Eileen Kleinfelder

High-risk sex offender released into Surrey

Earon Wayne Giles, a Newton “tag-team rapist,” was released from prison Friday and is now living in Surrey

Vancouver woman sexually assaulted after man follows her home; suspect at large

Police are looking for an Asian man in his 40s after the incident on Vancouver’s east side.

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

UPDATE: Vancouver man dies after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

Police believe speed was a factor in Thursday collision

Trial slated to start Monday for accused killer of Abbotsford cop

Oscar Arfmann faces first-degree murder for death of Const. John Davidson

Most Read