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Fire guts suites, displaces dozens living at North Burnaby apartment

Twenty-seven households registered for temporary help from the City of Burnaby's emergency support services after fire tore through suites at the Regal Manor apartments on Holdom Avenue Thursday morning.

The City of Burnaby’s emergency support services team is providing temporary help to 54 men, women and children displaced by a fire at a North Burnaby apartment building Thursday morning.

At about 9 a.m., Nader Pourvazyar, the building manager at the Regal Manor apartments (355 Holdom Ave.) was getting dressed to go out when someone banged on his door, telling him a fire had broken out in an apartment on the second floor.

He ran to the suite.

“As I opened the door, I couldn’t see. There was lots of smoke,” Pourvazyar told the NOW.

He said he was worried when he couldn’t see the apartment’s tenant but had to retreat when hit by a wall of black smoke.

He said he soon found the tenant sitting outside the building’s main entrance and was relieved but didn’t have time to find out what had happened before calling 911.

A fire truck was on scene in less than three minutes because firefighters from Station 4 happened to be at a nearby Safeway store getting groceries when the call came in, according to assistant fire Chief Darcy Robinson.

“They could see the plume of smoke as soon as they came out,” Robinson said of the crew.

At the scene, firefighters found flames and smoke coming from the west side of the older, five-storey lowrise, he said.

Crews evacuated the building and extinguished the blaze, which “totally gutted” the suite where the fire started and the one above it, according to Robinson.

At least four people were transported to hospital, according to B.C. Emergency Health Services.

The 44-unit building was surrounded by construction fencing Friday morning, the fire damage making it unsafe for both fire investigators and restoration crews to do their work.  

“They’ll maybe have to get engineering in there to see if it’s safe for anybody to go in,” Robinson said.  

Meanwhile, all of the Regal Manor’s tenants have been displaced, including Pourvazyar.

He said he stayed with family on Thursday night but was struggling to find a hotel room for Friday night.

Twenty-seven households (54 individuals) have registered for emergency help from emergency support services, according to City of Burnaby public affairs officer Cole Wagner.

He said support for the displaced families will be provided until Sunday.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor