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Fire rips through Austin Heights commercial building

Investigators are still trying to determine what started a fire that ripped through a commercial property in the 1000-block Austin Avenue late Thursday night.  - GARY McKENNA/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Investigators are still trying to determine what started a fire that ripped through a commercial property in the 1000-block Austin Avenue late Thursday night.
— image credit: GARY McKENNA/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Investigators are still trying to determine what started a fire that ripped through a commercial property in the 1000-block Austin Avenue late Thursday night.

Coquitlam Fire Rescue were on the scene shortly after 11 p.m. and initially attempted to save the structure. But as the fire spread chief Tony Delmonico said crews were forced to take more defensive action to protect the surrounding structures.

"We were trying to attack the fire from above and below," he said. "With heavy timber construction in there and the heavy fire volume, it got away from every effort we threw at it."

It took crews well into the morning to extinguish the blaze and investigators were still combing the debris early Friday morning.

The fire did an estimated $1 million in damage and Delmonico said that extra help had to be called in from Burnaby and Port Coquitlam to fight the blaze.

"We had to call back a lot of staff last night," he said Friday. "We staffed both rescue trucks, seven engines — this was all at the fire."

Delmonico said it was still unclear where the blaze originated but added that flames quickly made there way into the roof area.

A real estate business and an insurance agent were located in the commercial property, which sits in a strip mall on the south side of Austin Avenue west of Marmont Street.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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