UPDATE: More than 200 Surrey residents lose homes in Whalley apartment fire

In 'pretty low' theft, police say an apartment was broken into during early-morning evacuation

The fire department says more than 200 people have been left homeless after the fire that ripped through a Surrey apartment building Wednesday.

WHALLEY — Roughly 220 residents are retrieving some of their salvageable belongings after a fire ripped through their Whalley apartment building.

About 100 units were affected at Access Apartment in the 10800-block of City Parkway on Wednesday (Sept. 30), said Deputy Fire Chief Dan Barnscher. A total of 32 animals were either rescued or reunited with their owners, he added.

CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE FIRE.

“All residents have been processed at the reception centre and they were given the opportunity to retrieve articles from their suites by firefighters,” Barnscher said Friday. “They weren’t allowed by themselves but firefighters were able to get important documents, purses, wallets, things of necessity that they need to get on with their life immediately.”

A large recovery meeting was held Thursday at Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

Barnscher said the property management and insurance adjustor will now help owners to get any belongings that are salvageable.

“The residents won’t be allowed back in themselves, but they will have contractors able to retrieve articles for residents,” he said. “The reason being the instability and structure issues in the building. That’s where we stand right now.”

Despite some media reports that said thefts had occurred in the building, Surrey RCMP said there was no “looting.”

“I’m not sure where that came from,” said Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “We had one complaint of a relatively minor theft that likely occurred during the evacuation of the building. We certainly didn’t have rioters descending upon an apartment complex.”

But even one theft is unfortunate, he stressed.

“Somebody probably saw an opportunity while everybody was running out of the place to do the theft. It’s pretty low,” said Schumann.

The fire is believed to have started outside and worked its way up into the roof.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

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