VIDEO & PHOTOS: Hold on to donations for fire victims for a few days, emergency organizers plead

Community rallying to help hundreds displaced in a condo fire off Fraser Highway late Sunday morning in downtown Langley City.

  • Dec. 11, 2016 5:00 a.m.

Massive fire in Langley City



UPDATE: The City held a meeting with the evacuees Sunday night at the reception centre in Douglas Recreation Centre.

Those who did not attend can visit the centre today before 4:30 for more information, and another information session for evacuees only has been scheduled for noon today (Monday, Dec. 12).

••••••

A fire has driven numerous residents out of Paddington Station condo complex in downtown Langley City.

The fire spread through the upper floor of the four-storey apartment complex, gutting numerous units.

According to residents, the fire started just after 10 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 11.

Vince Stewart and his daughter Ellen live on the second floor of the building.

They said the fire seems to have started on the fourth, top floor of the building near the southwest corner.

“I was sleeping,” said Vince. “I work the graveyard shift.”

“We were getting our fire systems checked tomorrow,” Ellen said.

At first, she didn’t think it was a real fire when the alarms started going off. She thought they had just started testing the alarms early.

But when they smelled a powerful, burning rubber smell, they grabbed what they could and ran outside.

Langley City firefighters were backed up by Langley Township and City of Surrey fire crews as they battled the blaze.

Paddington Station was built in 2009 and consists of 18 townhouses, and two condo buildings, one with 86 units and another with 98.

Residents of the building were ushered onto buses, and plans were being made to take them to a nearby community centre to keep them warm for now, said City Mayor Ted Schaffer.

The City’s Emergency Preparedness Program set up buses at the scene while others set up a reception centre at Douglas Recreation Centre.

Residents were asked to go to Douglas Centre to sign in with the program. The residents will receive food and drink and temporary assistance. If they don’t have a place to sleep tonight, the program will help them, explained Ginger Sherlock, who heads the local emergency program.

Her volunteers were on site to help residents but they won’t know how many people need help until they get an update from the incident commander and people show up at the reception centre. Even those staying with family or friends should contact the reception centre so emergency crews know they are out and safe.

Sherlock said residents can also just go to the centre for some emotional support.

“Sometimes they just need a hug and a cup of coffee and the realization that they are not alone through this process. Some of them will have insurance, or places to go or people that will support them,” she said. “…We encourage [them to contact the reception centre] especially with major fires to connect and to register.”

It allows the people to get the help they need.

A large piece of the roof fell off.

The residents can take their pets to the reception centre at Douglas Park (20550 Douglas Cres.)

“In Canada we’ve always said bring your pets because we understand pets are family,” Sherlock said.

People were showing up at the scene with coats, blankets, and more. Starbucks across the street took over warm drinks. Langley Superstore manager Joe Viana went to the Douglas Recreation Centre with a pickup truck loaded with water and asked what was needed, getting on his phone to arrange for sandwiches, fruit and juice for the displaced families.

People can keep track at Langley Emergency Program on Facebook and on Twitter @langleyPrepared. In the coming hours and days, the Langley Advance will help let the community know what supplies and support are needed. The Gateway of Hope announced on its Twitter feed that it would be accepting donations for the fire victims.

“We’ve had a wonderful and overwhelming response so if people could wait today and call us tomorrow (office is open at 8am, 604-514-7375) that way we can redistribute and make room for more donations.” the shelter told the Advance.

Gateway will accept clothing and food, or money to put towards those items.

Watch for updates, as more information becomes available.

The Langley RCMP has been assisted by Surrey RCMP,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy.

Officers attended and assisted with nearby road closures and building evacuation. At this time there are no reported injuries.  The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and will become part of the ongoing investigation,” she said. “A neighbouring building was evacuated as smoke had begun to fill that building.”

Emergency workers are checking to ensure all residents are accounted for and roads in the area remain closed, she added.

• Click here to see a series of contributed photos from Langley Advance readers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP not seeing ‘significant loss’ in ranks because of COVID-19

Surrey Mounties say they have a good tracking system to keep tabs on police officers experiencing an illness

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 1: B.C.’s state of emergency extended, provincial health officer to provide update at 3 p.m.

Supreme Court upholds White Rock council decision on Lady Alexandra development

Planned 12-storey highrise on lower Johnston Road was stalled in 2018

No final high school game for Surrey all-stars; six scholarship winners named

COVID-19 forces cancellation of all-star games for boys and girls at Enver Creek gym April 3

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Both the prime minister and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have promised to donate their salary increase

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

B.C. heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

Most Read