A downtown Squamish house sustained “extensive” damage in a fire during the early-morning hours on Thursday (Feb. 28).
The cause of the blaze, which was first called in to Squamish Fire Rescue on Thursday at around 12:30 a.m., is under investigation but is not suspicious, Deputy Chief Bob Fulton said on Friday (March 1).
Twenty-two firefighters along with two engines and a ladder truck responded to the fire at 39740 Fifth Avenue, Fulton said. All six residents of the home, which is being used as a Sea to Sky Community Services outreach house, managed to escape uninjured, he said.
The back (south) side of the single-level, ranch-style house, which Fulton guessed was built in the 1950s or '60s, was fully involved in flames when fire crews arrived.
“The rear section of the house was fully involved and they knocked it down from the outside fairly quickly and protected the homes nearby,” said Fulton, adding that the home to the south was most at risk.
He described firefighters' work to douse the initial fire as “a great effort.”
“They dragged a 2 ½-inch attack line around the back side and knocked it down very quickly,” Fulton said.
“After they knocked the fire down, they entered the building, did a primary search and basically overhauled the structure. That's making sure the fire is out — getting into the roof and walls and ducting spaces. Wherever there's air, the fire will go, so you need to tear out drywall and wherever the fire is extended, you get it completely out.”
Fulton estimated that “about a third” of the structure was damaged by the fire, along with extensive smoke and water damage to the remainder. The cause is still under investigation but it's not believed to be suspicious, Fulton said.
It's important for all residents to ensure that they have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor of a home, Fulton said. Alarms should be checked on a monthly basis to ensure that they're working, he said.
“The public needs to be aware and ensure they're in place and working, because that's what gets you out in the middle of the night,” he said.