White Rock residents were evacuated from a Martin Street apartment building Sunday after a fire broke out in the second storey.
Const. Chris Kienzle said police were notified at around 4:20 p.m. Aug. 14 of the fire, which has been deemed accidental.
“We know that the fire originated in the kitchen and that there were burnt pots and pans,” he said, noting a preliminary report suggests it started as a stovetop fire.
Witnesses reported seeing flames coming out of a window above the three-storey building’s lobby, and said the fire burned for around 45 minutes to an hour before being extinguished by firefighters.
“It started off fairly calm and all of a sudden it really started going, and flames were coming out of the second storey and big black smoke, and a bit of white smoke, was coming out of the roof,” neighbour Peter Killon said.
Kienzle said all residents in the 20-suite building – at 1497 Martin St. – were accounted for, with one injury among them. The resident of the suite where the fire started suffered smoke inhalation and was kept in hospital overnight for observation.
The third-storey unit above the fire was the home of two cats, Kienzle noted, both of which were located by the fire crew.
“One of the cats was in really rough shape so we had one of our constables here drive the owner and the cat to a pet hospital,” he said, adding that it appeared the pet would be “looking in better shape” upon receiving veterinary care.
Kienzle said the suite where the fire started was “gutted.”
“As far as the hallways and adjoining units, it would all be smoke and water damage.”
Kienzle said the fire department’s victim-services unit was dispatched and arranged lodging for everybody who didn’t have a place to stay.
Kienzle said he was unsure when the residents would be able to return.
“The last thing I heard was it was going to be at least a couple days before they knew whether it would be longer.”
White Rock Fire Department could not be reached for comment.