British Columbia

Downtown Eastside fire puts 60 people out of their homes

Fire chief says evacuations difficult because many people couldn't walk, but no one seriously hurt

Fire chief says evacuations difficult because many people couldn't walk, but no one seriously hurt

A major early morning fire on the Downtown Eastside has temporarily left at least 60 people without a home. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

A major fire on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has put 60 residents out of their homes.

The fire, which grew into a three-alarm blaze, started around 5 a.m. PT Saturday in a four-storey wood frame apartment building near Cordova Street and Dunlevy Avenue next to Oppenheimer Park.

At the height of the fire, flames could be seen shooting through the building's roof.

At least 60 people have been left temporarily homeless by a major apartment fire on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Vancouver Fire Chief John McKearney says, fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

"The first job was to get people out of the building," he said. 

"A number of people are non ambulatory so it was a great effort including by citizens in the area to get them out. Fortunately we were able to get them out out to this park."

McKearney says it looks like the fire started in an upper floor suite and spread to the elevator shaft, then up to the roof.

"There's a daylight courtyard. They purposely let it burn through the roof to let it vent. That stopped a lot of the horizontal travel."

The fire chief says people will be out of their homes for at least several days. Emergency social services has been called to the scene.

An early morning fire on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside grew into a three-alarm blaze as flames shot through the building's roof. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Google Map: E Cordova and Dunlevy Avenue

With files from Rafferty Baker

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