4 p.m., June 27
Port Coquitlam has called in provincial emergency services to support dozens of residents who have been displaced by a massive fire at a Port Coquitlam apartment building.
On Saturday, as many as 30 firefighters were called to the scene of the blaze at Mary Hill Place, 2245 Wilson Ave. Today, firefighters are still on scene putting out hot spots and a portion of the building may have to be demolished so crews can put out the remaining embers.
A spokesperson for the property management company, Profile Properties, told the Tri-City News that residents were provided with support during the traumatic time.
"The residents were calm and everything was orderly," said Colleen Semple. However, she said people were likely still in shock.
At least a few of the mostly older residents who own their condos didn't have home owners insurance and may need help.
However, as yet there is no official donation program, such as a Go Fund Me page set up for residents.
Residents are provided with 72 hours of support through the province's Emergency Social Services program, including vouchers for hotel stays, food and toiletries, according to the city.
As many 37 residents stayed overnight at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC) on the weekend, according to Trisha Maciejko, the city's emergency preparedness manager.
Semple said the services provided to residents were quick and efficient and she congratulated the city on its effort to establish a command centre at the PCCC, including providing individual cots for people.
"The city was fantastic on their response," Semple said.
As to the state of the building, Semple said water is being pumped out of the garage and damage investigations will determine the next steps in restoration.
As of late Monday afternoon, most of the Mary Hill Place residents, including some families, have relocated to stay with family friends or local hotels.
11 a.m., June 27
Saturday’s massive blaze that forced the evacuation of approximately 80 people from a three-storey apartment building and a neighbouring apartment is still being fought by Port Coquitlam firefighters.
Assistant fire chief Walt Warner told the Tri-City News early Monday, June 27, that firefighters will be on scene all day to put out any remaining hot spots after the blaze flared up again.
Called Mary Hill Place, the 41-unit condo unit located at 2245 Wilson Ave that burned Saturday, was built in 1982 and dozens of residents will now be looking for new accommodation while their building is assessed for damages and repaired.
In the meantime, firefighters are ensuring that fire doesn't reignite.
“They’re here for precautionary measures for potential hot spots,” said Warner. “There have been some minor flare ups only due to the fact that crews are unable to enter the building.”
Residents were taken to the Port Coquitlam Community Centre on Saturday night and have since all been released, according to Warner.
Residents of 2245 Wilson Ave. whose building is badly damaged in the blaze will be looking for longer term housing while residents of Cedar Terrace, at 2233 Wilson Ave. were allowed to return to their homes Monday morning.
Deputy chief Warner said there was some residual smoke smell but air quality testing confirmed the apartment building was safe.
“They’re free to come home now and go back to business as usual,” said Warner.
He said the neighbouring apartment building had to be evacuated due to the proximity of the large fire next door and concerns about fire spreading as well as smoke.
City officials say the fire started around 10 p.m. at the building at 2245 Wilson Ave. Multiple fire crews, including members of Coquitlam Fire Rescue, responded throughout the night to the blaze.
One person was injured with burns, according to officials, and one firefighter had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
Reports from a bystander said that the fire started on the first floor at the rear of the building and spread up to the roof.
However, deputy chief Warner wouldn’t confirm the source of the fire and said investigators are still on the scene.
“We aren’t releasing any information about the exact suite. We have to make sure we have complete information,” he said.
The Tri-City News has reached out to the city for more information about how residents are coping and what emergency services are being provided.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
10 a.m., June 27
Port Coquitlam transit riders may be impacted in the wake of a large apartment fire on Wilson Avenue over the weekend.
Mary Hill Place was engulfed in flames that blanketed the neighbourhood with smoke Saturday night (June 25), forcing the displacement of dozens of residents from the complex.
PoCo fire crews extinguished the blaze in the early hours of Sunday morning (June 26) and the incident is now in the hands of the RCMP, said Mayor Brad West in a social media update.
As a result of the incident and the ongoing investigation, Wilson Avenue is currently closed between Shaughnessy Street and Mary Hill Road, and transit has been altered for those that frequent the residential corridor.
It's not known for how long that stretch will remain closed.
The following TransLink routes have been affected by the road closure:
8 a.m., June 26
A fire at an apartment block in downtown Port Coquitlam has forced residents from their homes and closed roads in the area.
The fire, at the Mary Hill Place apartment complex at 2245 Wilson Ave., started late Saturday evening (June 25), blanketing the surrounding neighbourhood with smoke that could be smelled as far away as New Westminster and Surrey.
Videos posted online showed a wall of flame three storeys high coming from a unit on a lower floor, around a back corner of the complex.
In a statement on its social media feeds, the city said displaced residents have been given temporary shelter at the nearby Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC), with an update to be provided to them in the Wilson Lounge at 10 a.m.
Road closures in the area include:
- Wilson between Donald Street and Mary Hill
- Intersection of Wilson and Mary Hill
TranLink issued alerts that service for several of its buses that use Wilson Avenue has also been affected.
In a social media post, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said one person had to be treated for burns and a firefighter suffered smoke inhalation.
"My concern and priority is with supporting all those residents impacted," West said.
Early this morning (June 26), the city said fire investigators were on the scene gathering information to determine the cause of the blaze.