Chilliwack firefighters were able to quickly contain a fire late Jan. 21, 2019 to the attic portion of a vacant two-storey house on Fourth Avenue. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Another vacant house goes up in flames in Chilliwack

An ongoing problem with landlords not securing properties from squatters

If it sounds like you’ve read this before, you have: Yet another vacant house went up in flames Monday evening.

At approximately 6 p.m. on Jan. 21, firefighters from Chilliwack fire halls 1, 4 and 6 responded to a structure fire in the 46000 block of 4th Avenue.

The location is just metres away from Hall 1 on Cheam Avenue.

When firefighters arrived they found a vacant, two-storey family residential home with flame and smoke showing from the second floor and attic space.

• READ MORE: Vacant Rosedale home demolished to extinguish fire

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Vacant house on Trethewey Avenue goes up in flames

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire and confine it to the attic space of the house, and fire damage was contained to the attic and roof structure.

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.

This fire is believed to be deliberately set and is under investigation by Chilliwack Fire Department and RCMP.

Fires in vacant homes in Chilliwack have been a problem for years, and is something Chilliwack city council is scheduled to address at the Jan. 22 council meeting with respect to a row of vacant houses on Henderson Avenue.

A vacant house among a series of houses on Henderson Avenue that city hall wants the owner to demolish. This taken May 2018. (City of Chilliwack)

At the 3 p.m. meeting, council is set to vote on a staff recommendation to order the property to be fully enclosed by a fence, deal with unsightly conditions, and demolish the structures. The properties at 45870, 45888 and 45894 Henderson Avenue have been the subject of more than two dozen complaints, according to city hall.

The owners applied to build an apartment building on the site in October 2017, and since then numerous unsightly complaints have been made, and the property has been constantly used by squatters, something the owner has said is not his responsibility.

The Chilliwack Fire Department has dealt with burning inside buildings on the properties five times in 2018, on Jan. 14, April 11, Sept. 7, Oct. 1 and Nov. 30. In many of those incidents, firefighters complained about difficulty accessing the building because of overgrown bushes on the properties.

If anyone has any information about this latest fire at the house on Fourth Avenue on Jan. 21, they are asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.chilliwackcrimestoppers.ca.

• READ MORE: Small fire causes big traffic trouble in Chilliwack

• READ MORE: Eight vacant houses torched in Chilliwack so far in 2015


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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