An older house in east Maple Ridge was significantly damaged by fire Wednesday morning.
The Maple Ridge fire department responded to a call for flames showing from a structure on Morrisette Place around 9 a.m.
The house was owned by the Morrisette family and located on a road named after it. It was built in the late 1920s. Gloria Morrisette along with her husband and five children moved into it in 1944.
“She was a newspaper writer for years, a feature writer,” said one of her daughters, Luella Villiers, who lives next door to the property.Her mother lived to 105 years old.
Two boys lived in the house. Both were at work at the time of the fire.
A firefighter located a cat near the house and gave it oxygen, using one of the department’s pet oxygen masks.
“It was buried in the grass. You could hear him and then, as I put my hand down, I muffled him,” said firefighter Craig Davis.
It had suffered burns.
Four kittens were reportedly in a breezeway of the house, and at three were located later.
One is not accounted for, said fire chief Howard Exner.
The fire remains under investigation and the cause is undetermined. However, Exner does not expect police to be involved.
He added that the cold weather presented some challenges for firefighters, as water did not drain from the house as it usually does, but pooled, and in some cases froze, creating a safety risk.
“It was a cold day and we’re not used to fighting fires on cold days,” he said.