British Columbia·Photos

Burnaby apartment fire kills 57-year-old man

Burnaby firefighters were called to a fire in an apartment building in the 7200-block of Kingsway, where they found a man dead early Saturday morning.

Firefighters contained the fire to a single suite, but man was unresponsive

Burnaby firefighters exit an apartment building on Kingsway, after the discovery that a man had died in a fire on Saturday morning. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A 57-year-old man is dead after an apartment fire in Burnaby, early Saturday morning. 

The fire began around 12:30 a.m. at a 16-storey high-rise in a B.C. Housing complex at 7264 Kingsway.

Acting Assistant Chief Gavin Summers said the Burnaby Fire Department received multiple calls about the fire, which was eventually upgraded to a third alarm, drawing more than 40 firefighters.

​"Upon arrival, they found fire, smoke emanating from the second floor of this high-rise," said Summers.

Aaron Busch, who lives on the second floor, said he was sleeping when the alarms woke him up.

"And then I get a knock on the door and the entire hallway was covered in thick fog or smoke," said Busch. 

Many residents in the high-rise required help getting out of the building. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Summers said crews made quick work of the fire, once it was located.

"They found the suite 202 — the fire was confined to that suite. They went in and they found one victim at that location," said Summers.

Fire mostly around the bed area

Summers said the 57-year-old was found unresponsive inside a studio apartment, with the fire mostly damaging the area around the bed.

Another suite was lightly damaged by smoke, and there was water damage caused by the fire hoses, according to Summers.

Kim Young lives on the fourth floor of the building. She didn't see much smoke on her floor, but got out of the building safely with her dog, Kemo. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

RCMP Insp. Annette Fellner said the incident was still under investigation, and few details were known, early Saturday.

"It's too early for me to comment on what caused the person's death," said Fellner.

Summers confirmed that the death was a result of the fire, but wouldn't go into details.

"I can't confirm whether or not alarms were sounding in that suite or smoke detectors were activated," said Summers.

"We'll be working with fire to determine if it's suspicious, or if it was an accidental fire, and of course the coroner has been called in as well," said Fellner.

The coroner watches as a man prepares to cover the victim's body with a white tarp. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Fatal fires 'not uncommon' in Burnaby

Summers said fires in Burnaby that result in death happen from time to time.

"It's not rare at all; we usually have one or two deaths a year. It's not uncommon," he said, adding that it's an additional stress on fire crews.

"Any time we have a death, it's difficult for the firefighters, of course, yeah. It's an unpleasant thing to see, but we have a process in place to look after them that way. We have support systems in place."

Burnaby fire fighters carried the 57-year-old victim out of the sokey building on a stretcher early Saturday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

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