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Two hurt, five others rescued, as flames damage Vancouver apartment building

Last Updated Nov 19, 2019 at 11:23 am PDT

Firefighters attack a fire on SW Marine Drive, near Heather, on Nov. 19, 2019. On Nov. 30, a Vancouver firefighter was sent to a hospital, after he was poked by a needle while fighting a fire. (Kurtis Doering, NEWS 1130 Photo)

A fire at a Vancouver apartment building may have been caused by fireworks, neighbours say

The fire started at around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and firefighters remain on scene

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Flames devoured a three-storey apartment building on Southwest Marine Drive and Heather Street in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, with a dozen fire trucks and other emergency vehicles blocking the road.

The fire department was called in at around 3:30 a.m., and Nikola, who lives on the third floor of the 24-unit building, says he thought the alarms were a joke at first, but then went outside and saw his neighbours crying.

“A couple of people were stuck on the balcony and they managed to get down with the firefighters and their ladders,” he says. “It’s a disaster.”

Flames could be seen shooting out the third floor windows as a heavy cloud of smoke drifted toward Richmond.

Joel Woods lives nearby and says he heard fireworks going off just before the fire started.

“The trees started on fire first, high up in the tree, and then it moved to the first apartment and then it really took off once it hit the apartment,” Woods says.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Asst. Chief Dave Boone says five people were trapped on balconies and those residents were rescued by ladder, but crews also had to enter the building to find two others who had become disoriented in the heavy smoke.

One of the two was unconscious but Boone says both were safely removed from the building and taken to hospital.

He says he’s been told the unconscious resident has revived and both patients are considered stable.

A fire investigator is now on scene, and the cause has not yet been confirmed.

With files from the Canadian Press