Two homes were destroyed and a firefighter was injured during an early-morning fire in Chilliwack on Friday (July 16).
The blaze broke out around 1:30 a.m. at a duplex on Alameda Drive on Chilliwack Mountain.
Thirty-five firefighters from Chilliwack Halls 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 responded to the fire in the three-storey building. Crews arrived on scene to a fully involved fire in one of the two-unit townhouse units with the fire moving into the adjoining townhouse.
“Two homes in the Retriever Ridge complex on Alameda Dr. have completely burned to the ground,” wrote Krystie Shirlaw on social media at 2:59 a.m.
Firefighters managed to control the fire and protect the adjacent exposures, Chilliwack Fire Department said in a press release. Firefighters overhauled both units and extinguished the fire.
Both townhouses were severely damaged by fire, smoke and water. There was minor heat damage to the exterior of an adjacent townhouse.
Chilliwack Firefighters Association Local 2826 said one of their members was injured as a result.
“One firefighter was injured when a ceiling collapsed on them, we are hoping it is only minor in nature.”
He suffered minor neck and back injuries after pieces of falling gyprock from the ceiling landed on him, confirmed fire chief Ian Josephson. He was checked over by BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) paramedics on scene and released at the scene.
Working smoke alarms had initially alerted the residents of the fire.
According to a relative of a family in one of the homes, three people including a two-year-old boy escaped the fire and are OK. A GoFundMe was set up hours after the fire to help them.
“The homeowners of the unit where the fire originated were also checked for the adverse health effects of smoke inhalation by BCEHS paramedics and released at the scene,” Josephson said.
Their cat was lost in the blaze.
A GoFundMe has also been set up for the family in the other home, a couple.
“The use of a limited combustible hardie board cladding on the exterior of the townhouse units reduced the fire spread and damage to the buildings,” Chilliwack Fire Department said. “The townhouses were not sprinklered as they were constructed prior to adoption of the City of Chilliwack sprinkler bylaw in 2007.”
“With the lack of rain and excessive heat we have seen recently we want to remind everybody to remain diligent in their efforts towards staying fire safe. Be sure your household has a fire escape plan, and all know what to do in the event of such an emergency,” Chilliwack Firefighters Association Local 2826 said.
Cause of the fire is considered accidental and is being investigated by Chilliwack Fire Department fire investigators.