British Columbia

160 homes evacuated as crews battle large apartment fire in Abbotsford

Residents have been evacuated from an apartment building in Abbotsford, B.C., due to a large fire early Tuesday.

Neighbouring homes and businesses also affected as firefighters work for hours to douse Cardinal Avenue blaze

Abbotsford fire crews work to contain a fire at an apartment complex at 30515 Cardinal Ave. on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Dozens of people have been evacuated from their homes in Abbotsford, B.C., after a large fire broke out in an apartment building early Tuesday.

Crews were called to the 30500-block of Cardinal Avenue just after 6 a.m. PT, Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services said.

About four hours after the blaze broke out, Chief Darren Lee said 51 firefighters, including crews from Langley and Mission, were still working to control the fire that forced people in 160 units, as well as neighbouring homes and businesses, to evacuate.

"We're going to have a fair amount of folks displaced," said Lee.

Abbotsford Fire Chief Darren Lee says many people have been displaced due to the blaze, including residents of 160 units, as well as half a dozen homes on the north side of the complex and a handful of businesses on the west side. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He said firefighters were still working at around 10 a.m. to put out pockets of flames on the roof and contain the spread on upper floors of the building. They were also trying to rescue pets still trapped inside.

Abbotsford police are asking residents who have been displaced to check in at a reception centre set up at Northview Church at 32040 Downes Rd. Lee said once people have checked in, the process can begin to get them some emergency support.

The public has been asked to avoid the area, which is just north of the Highstreet shopping centre at Mount Lehman.

FortisBC has shut off the gas at the scene.

Abbotsford fire crews stand on the balconies of an Abbotsford apartment building as they try to contain the three-alarm fire. (Ben Nelms/CBC)