Vancouver firefighters turned out in force early Thursday as a suspicious fire blazed through five homes in Kitsilano and damaged a sixth. The fire began about 3:15 a.m. in the area of MacDonald and 6th avenue and spread quickly to the other homes. Cedar siding, and the closeness of the 80 to 90 year old homes meant the fire spread quickly.
About 70 firefighters and 11 trucks responded and were there for hours knocking down hot spots long after the initial fires were out.
Deputy Chief Tom Easterbrook of the Vancouver Fire Department said the blaze started in the back of the middle house and while the cause is not clear, he said it was suspicious.
About 20 people were living in the homes and social services as well as neighbours were helping them out after residents dashed out of the burning houses.
One of those in the fire was Shelley Ugan. “I just woke up to flames coming in bedroom window. I didn’t hear anything. I just saw flames, got up…couldn’t believe what was going …ran out. I opened my roomate’s bedroom door…he’s in back of house and it was in flames already. The whole back of house was in flames. I just ran out the front door.”
A backhoe was brought in later in the morning to demolish the most severly damaged house.
While there were no reports of injuries, there was a sad twist. As firefighters battled the blaze, someone walked into the Kitsilano Firehall when door was left ajar and made off with several hundred dollars