A Surrey Fire Service assistant chief estimates about 80 people have been displaced and at least 20 units have been damaged following a fire at a Newton condominium Tuesday evening.
The call for the fire at the three-storey woodframe Canterbury Green building at 70th Avenue and 138th Street came in around 5:30 p.m. Aug. 3, with two units initially on fire when crews arrived.
Residents quickly evacuated the three-alarm fire, while crowds formed along 70th Avenue as firefighters worked to put out the flames.
On Tuesday evening, Surrey Fire Service deputy chief Mark Griffioen said the fire had moved onto the roof of the building.
“We’re trying to stop it from spreading across.”
Was driving to my parents when I saw thick black smoke. There’s a fire around 70th Ave and 138th St. Can’t tell if the townhouse/apartment complex is affected or if it’s in the wooded area next to it. #SurreyBC pic.twitter.com/w3wTDdZyfU— Lauren Collins (@laurenpcollins1) August 4, 2021
Firefighters could been be seen on the complex’s roof as they battled the fire with some on the ladder attacking the fire over a wooded area.
Shelley Morris, assistant fire chief, said Wednesday afternoon that firefighters were still working to put out some hotspots.
“We did work on it all night long. We did exterior attacks and interior attacks to try and get out the hotspots and sparks but there are some access issues,” she noted.
“It never did fully go out, so we’ve been sort of trying to hold it at bay, which we have done. But that’s as far as we’ve really gotten. But now we’re starting to get a bit of headway on this, and we just have some small hotspots left.”
Morris said there could be “a good 20 units” affected by the fire, but she added firefighters will have a better assessment of the water and fire damage once the fire is fully out.
She estimated about 80 residents have been displaced, adding that there have been no injuries reported. She said the department is also being “very vigilant” of the heat and taking that into consideration while firefighters continue to work.
Some social media comments point to a barbecue being the possible cause of the fire.
While crews have yet to determine the cause, Morris said there will be an investigation.
“It’s an unfortunate situation to have people like this displaced, but hopefully it brings some awareness that people do need to stay vigilant with whatever they’re doing and hopefully things like this won’t happen in the future.”
Asked how people can stay safe while cooking indoors or using a barbecue, she said the summer heat “definitely plays a factor.” Morris added anything that ignites “can then flare up quite quickly.”
“It’s always being vigilant and never leaving anything that you’re cooking, whether it be a barbecue or inside, unattended because if anything was to happen, it can quickly get out of control.
“It’s just staying present when you’re dealing with any heating source.”