Assistant fire chief Chris Wilson speaks with residents of Park Ridge at Tyson elementary Saturday morning. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

VIDEO: Large fire destroys Chilliwack apartment building

Early morning fire on Stevenson displaces hundreds of people

A massive fire destroyed a Sardis apartment building early Saturday morning.

At about midnight on Aug. 10, firefighters were called to a fire in a 60-unit apartment complex on Stevenson Road where they arrived to find a heavy volume of fire and smoke pouring from the roof.

Residents in the Park Ridge building on Stevenson Road, and two neighbouring complexes, were all evacuated in case the fire spread. Everyone was able to escape the fire.

It took about three hours to knock the fire down, and an additional hour and a half after that to completely extinguish the blaze.

The fire seemed to be under control at one point, and then flared up again, according to witnesses.

It was a “very large volume of fire in difficult spaces up in the roof area,” said assistant fire chief Chris Wilson at the scene that morning.

The majority of the fire damage was in the top floor of the four-storey building where several units were completely destroyed. Massive holes in the roof and blackened beams could be seen from the apartment’s parking lot and Vedder Road.

There was “quite a bit of water damage from the third floor down to first floor,” said Wilson, adding that fortunately there’s “very minimal smoke damage, because everything typically goes up in a fire.”

Of the approximate 80 to 100 total residents displaced, only about 15 to 20 of them needed emergency support services — most of whom were able to spend the night in a hotel, and three who spent the night at Tyson elementary.

“People, generally, were very well prepared with other arrangements including insurance. The amount of support we needed to provide was, thankfully, a lot less than what it would typically be, so we found quite a few residents were quite prepared in this complex,” said Wilson.

The Chilliwack Fire Department had a meeting late Saturday morning with about 65 Park Ridge residents at Tyson elementary where the emergency support services reception centre has been set up. There, the fire department provided them with more information about the fire, how to go about gathering their belongings, insurance, and other emergency service info.

Additionally, the Chilliwack SPCA has offered up shelter for anyone who has displaced animals.

There were no firefighter or civilian injuries as a result of the blaze. It is unclear yet how the fire started and the fire investigation team is scheduled to survey the building on Monday.

The building won’t be inhabitable any time in the near future.

A support page for victims of the fire has already been set up on Facebook, called Park Ridge Fire Victims Support. On that page, people are sharing their stories, offering help and listing what they’ve lost.

 

People gather outside the Park Ridge building on Stevenson Road Saturday morning following a fire that displaced about 80 to 100 residents. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

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