British Columbia

Man killed in East Vancouver blaze was staying late to finish work, firefighters believe

The fire broke out in an industrial building in at Pandora Street and Woodland Drive just before 10 p.m. PT.

Crews dealt with extreme temperatures inside industrial building

Fire investigators remained at the scene overnight looking into what sparked the fire. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The man killed in a fire that broke out in an industrial building in East Vancouver on Tuesday night was staying late to finish work, Vancouver Fire Rescue believes. 

The blaze broke out in an industrial building at Pandora Street and Woodland Drive just before 10 p.m. PT. 

Public information officer Jonathan Gormick described it as a tragic accident.

"This person was just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Gormick said. 

He said the exact cause of the fire is unknown, but it appears to have started in a mechanical compressor room.

Although the building was older and didn't have a sprinkler system, it was in compliance with fire bylaws and the fire code, Gormick said. 

Firefighters found the man inside the building and brought him outside, where first responders tried to resuscitate him.

"It's a very, very, very difficult night," said Assistant Chief Trevor Connelly with Vancouver Fire Rescue.

"We want to save people, that's our job, and when that doesn't go well, it hits the crews hard."

Firefighters pulled the man from the building and tried to resuscitate him, but he did not survive. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

He said his fire crews had to deal with low visibility and high heat as they made their way inside.

The fire spread through to the roof as crews battled it from both the street and an alley, but the building remains standing.

Vancouver Fire Rescue said a cat was also found dead inside the building after a secondary search.

The identity of the victim has not been released. 

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