A small crowd gathered downtown Saturday as Chilliwack Fire Department trucks rolled up to put out a small fire in a boarded-up house.
The vacant house is now seen as an arson risk, and will likely be demolished.
“It’s unsafe. We want to get it torn down as quickly as possible,” said Mike Bourdon, Assistant Fire Chief, Fire Prevention/Investigations.
It’s the fifth fire to break out at this address on Bole since 2012.
“It’s a nuisance if we have to keep going back there,” said Bourdon.
The abandoned building sustained roof damage in the last fire, and to the exterior.
Surrounded by large apartment buildings on all sides, the tiny one-storey house at 46078 Bole Avenue looks somehow out of place.
These vacant structures often become a safety issue for emergency responders, and can pose risks to the community, as well as firefighters. Even if owners secure them, they are targets, he said.
City of Chilliwack has tried to discourage the vacant building scenario with a bylaw.
Sometimes fires are caused by carelessness of squatters handing lit candles or cigarettes.
The doors and windows were boarded shut so one firefighter was delegated to crowbar into the house by the front door.
There were no injuries reported from the fire, and it was unoccupied.
Firefighters dragged hoses up to the front door to put out the fire believed to have been started in the rear of the house.
Smoke could be seen pouring out the sides as the fire trucks arrived on-scene Saturday morning.
The cause is not yet known, and fire officials said with the amount of damage, it may be difficult to assign a cause, said Bourdon.
Fire officials and now working with the city bylaw enforcement department to proceed to a demolition order.