Burnaby firefighters had to retreat from a burning South Slope duplex Thursday when part of its ceramic-tiled roof started to collapse.
Crews were called to the home at 5512 Clinton St. shortly before 6 p.m.
Upon arrival, thick smoke and flames were showing from the back of the building, according to assistant fire Chief Dave Younger.
“It was fully involved when we arrived,” he said.
Firefighters entered the front of the burning building to battle the blaze but were pulled out again when the roof at the back started to move, Younger said
“Those tiles can fall right through the drywall and hit a firefighter inside, so it made it a lot harder to fight because we had to fight it all from the outside and set up a ladder in the alley and all that,” Younger said.
Crews managed to limit damage to the other half of the duplex to melted siding.
Richelle Casdro had been taking a shower in the second duplex when the fire broke out next door and was startled by a neighbour banging on her door telling her to get out.
“It was so fast. I just quickly put on my clothes,” she said.
Her neighbour had called 911, and, with help from a Good Samaritan who had been driving by in a Snap-On Tool truck, had gone around warning people about the fire.
The owners of the home are out of the country, according to neighbours, but there were uncomfirmed reports of a man, possibly a resident living in a suite at the back of the building, leaving the burning house before fire crews arrived.
Nine trucks and 32 firefighters responded to the two-alarm blaze.