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Three-alarm fire evacuates condo complex

Fire crews quickly put down a fire in the roof of a condo complex at 1655 Augusta Ave. in North Burnaby Tuesday afternoon. There were no injuries but the residents of at least three units won
Fire crews quickly put down a fire in the roof of a condo complex at 1655 Augusta Ave. in North Burnaby Tuesday afternoon. There were no injuries but the residents of at least three units won't be able to return to their homes until significant repairs are made.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

Norman Colclough, 85, was enjoying a leisurely lunch during half time of Tuesday's  exciting Brazil-Mexico match of the FIFA World Cup when it happened.

"The buzzer went and they told us to get out."

And so it was that half a game away from finding out the dramatic ending Colclough and all the other residents of the condo complex at 1655 Augusta Ave. were evacuated due to a fire in the roof.

Burnaby Fire Department was called to the sprawling three-storey, wood-frame complex in North Burnaby at about 1:20 p.m., said Deputy Chief Chris Bowcock.

The first crew arrived within a minute and found heavy fire in the roof area. They immediately evacuated the third-floor residents near the blaze while launching an "aggressive interior attack" on the fire.

There were no injuries to firefighters nor to the residents, many of them elderly, who were evacuated within six minutes of the fire call, Bowcock said.

In all, there were 49 firefighters on scene and 13 fire vehicles, including seven fire engines and two ladder trucks.

Colclough and other residents believed the fire was caused by roofers working on the building.

Bowcock said it was too soon to know for sure. "We're not sure what the cause is at this time but there was roof work being done in the vicinity of the building."

The fire was contained quickly and care was taken to extinguish it with the least amount of damage in the building, he said.

A couple hours after the incident started, Bowcock said, "Right now there's a minimum of three suites that are directly impacted with significant fire damage to the roof space which will make those suites uninhabitable until significant repairs can be done."

Residents of the first and second floors, and most of those on the third floor, would likely be able to return to their homes soon, he said.

As for the Brazil-Mexico game, it ended in a scoreless draw.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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