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North Vancouver crews work overnight to battle apartment blaze

Ten firetrucks and 40 firefighters were on hand at the height of the blaze
North Shore fire departments battled an overnight blaze in a vacant apartment building on 2nd Street East Jan. 19. | Macklin Holloway

City of North Vancouver fire crews are being commended by local residents for their relentless efforts battling an overnight blaze.

Fire crews were called to 2nd Street East around 7:40 p.m. Friday night, following calls from nearby residents of smoke and flames erupting from a vacant three-storey apartment building, said City of North Vancouver’s Fire Department Fire Chief Greg Schalk.

Crews battled the blaze until 10 a.m. the following morning, with 10 fire trucks and 40 firefighters working together at the height of the operation, he said.

“This was a pretty significant fire,” he said, adding how crews had to put out the fire from the outside of the building due to the conditions and hazards inside.

Fire crews carried out an “incredible job” given the circumstances, he said.

“We’re super appreciative of the support we got from both the District of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver fire departments.”

Schalk said crews haven’t yet been able to determine whether there was anyone inside the building at the time of the fire. While the apartment complex was a vacated property slated for demolition, squatters have been known to reside inside, he said.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Elaine Brown, a North Vancouver resident whose apartment building faced the fire, said she was alerted of the blaze after noticing flames coming from the building’s roof and “lots of smoke.”

Brown said she wanted to bring attention to how “amazing” the fire department’s response had been, working “throughout the night in the cold and snow.”

The crews are brave and work “tirelessly” in difficult conditions to keep residents safe, she said.

Mina Kerr-Lazenby is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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