The Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society is once again coming out to help the victims of a condominium fire.
“Recently within the province, we have witnessed how immediate an impact fire can have on communities. This apartment fire in Newton has swiftly and dramatically changed the lives of people within our community. It’s important to provide assistance for these residents during this challenging time in their lives,” said Saverio Lattanzio, president of the SFFCS.
The society, according to vice-president Dylan Van Rooyen, will be collecting donations online from now until Aug. 10, matching dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000, for the residents displaced in the Aug. 3 condo fire in Newton.
To donate, visit surreyfirefighters.com/donate-online.
He noted many of the residents at Canterbury Green lost everything and some of them had no insurance.
The City of Surrey’s Emergency Support Services team will be “working closely with the residents in greatest need is support and will provide gift certificates for essentials,” Van Rooyen added.
The charitable society won’t be accepting any physical donations of clothing, furniture or other household items due to logistics.
Firefighters were called to the three-storey wood-frame building around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Aug. 3), with Surrey Fire Service deputy chief Mark Griffioen noting that two units were on fire when crews arrived.
Shortly after, he said, the fire moved to the roof.
Nearly 24 hours later assistant fire chief Shelley Morris said 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.”