British Columbia

Witnesses heard fireworks near scene of suspicious fire, police say

Vancouver police are appealing for any information about a suspicious fire that caused extensive damage to a South Vancouver apartment building Tuesday morning and sent one person to hospital with serious injuries.

Investigators believe blaze began outside Marpole residential building, where several people had to be rescued

Several people had to be rescued from the apartment building on Southwest Marine Drive at Heather Street on Tuesday morning. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Vancouver police are appealing for any information about a suspicious fire that caused extensive damage to a South Vancouver apartment building Tuesday morning and sent one person to hospital with serious injuries.

Police were called around 3 a.m. PT to help Vancouver Fire Rescue Services evacuate a three-storey building at Southwest Marine Drive and Heather Street, where most of the residents were still asleep, according to a statement emailed Wednesday.

Officers believe the fire started outside the building. Witnesses reported hearing fireworks and seeing a group of people walking away from the building at the time of the fire.

"This fire likely started on the outside of the building, possibly in some shrubs, or trees, or greenery, and spread to the structure itself," said Sgt. Steve Addison in a phone interview.

"It's safe to say that whoever was responsible for it likely didn't intend for such catastrophic damage to occur, so that's why we're really appealing to anybody who has information about what happened," said Addison.

A firefighter inspects an apartment unit inside a building on Southwest Marine Drive at Heather Street after the Tueday-morning fire. Crews said six people had to be rescued from the burning building, one of whom was seriously injured. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Addison said the fire caused extensive damage to the building, resulting in a number of people being displaced and a 33-year-old man being taken to hospital with serious injuries. A second person was injured and taken to hospital.

Several other residents in the 19-suite building had to be rescued from the flames and smoke.

As of Wednesday, none of the residents have been allowed to return home.

Anyone with information is asked to call VPD's Major Crime Section at 604-717-2541.

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