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Second fire breaks out at Burquitlam rental building after Christmas Eve evacuation

Building 5 at Whitgift Gardens in Coquitlam was empty at the time.
Building 5 at 550 Cottonwood Ave., in Coquitlam, had fires on Dec. 24, 2022, and Jan. 9, 2023.

A Burquitlam rental building where a fire forced out 26 tenants on Christmas Eve had another blaze this week.

On Monday (Jan. 9) at around 5 p.m., Coquitlam Fire Rescue put out the flames in a ground-level one-bedroom suite in Building 5 at Whitgift Gardens, located at 550 Cottonwood Ave.

The building was empty at the time, said John Corry, spokesperson for Concert Properties, which manages the complex.

He said the company is now working to restore the heat after the boiler was turned off.

Corry said Concert is now waiting for a review of Building 5 to find out when additional repairs and cleaning can be done.

The 26 residents of the seven suites who were temporarily displaced in the Dec. 24 fire were given financial assistance, accommodation and a daily food allowance until Jan. 20; those supports may continue to Jan. 25, if needed.

As for community donations for the tenants, Corry said there’s no need for a collection “as residents have purchased any required temporary belongings with the support provided."

A City of Coquitlam spokesperson said the Christmas Eve blaze that happened in the stairwell appears to be suspicious; no one was injured. 

On Tuesday (Jan. 10), Coquitlam Fire Rescue confirmed to the Tri-City News that the second fire is also deemed suspicious as the units had no power and no occupants; it is also being investigated by Coquitlam RCMP.

Meanwhile, the municipality offers the following safety tips for the winter:

  • make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home
  • clear storm drains near your home to prevent flooding
  • don’t use candles during power outages