A massive fire overnight in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood has damaged multiple buildings, gutting a handful of businesses.
The three-alarm fire broke out shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday night at 41st Street and East Boulevard with firefighters on scene Monday morning working to knock down the flames.
Vancouver Fire Rescue Services Assistant Chief Keith Stewart tells CityNews when crews arrived, they found heavy fire in the back of the building.
“They found some people hanging out the back, because there’s residences above on the second floor. So, we had to make sure we got some people out in the back side,” Stewart said.
Stewart says five commercial units have been damaged in the fire, with four of them a “total loss.”
An excavator will be working to take down the damaged structures Monday, he adds.
Three people have been displaced by the fire, Stewart notes, with two residential units being heavily damaged in the fire.
“There’s some heavy damage on the one side, exactly how much loss, I’m not sure at this time.
Wrapping up at the huge fire overnight in Kerrisdale.
A few beloved businesses have been destroyed.
The whole area around 41st and East Boulevard is closed off.
Lots of smoke in the area… @CKNW @GlobalBC @CTVVancouver @CityNewsVAN pic.twitter.com/rz1CrfMVcs
— Tricia Barker (@TriciaBarker49) October 2, 2023
“Our fire investigations team was on scene … they’ll be coming back to continue their investigation,” he said.
Stewart says the buildings involved in the fire are “older,” meaning the structures are very close together and don’t include firewalls.
“We have fire travel, and sometimes it’s very difficult to get to the root of where the fire is, and where it is right now,” he explained.
Two Vancouver firefighters sustained minor injuries and have since been treated and released from hospital, Stewart says, however, no other injuries have been reported.
Fire crews activated a crane to fight the fire from above, with 16 apparatus and 55 firefighters on scene fighting the blaze.
The three buildings damaged by the blaze house were a Nandos restaurant, a bakery, a farmers market, and a yogurt shop.
Stewart says City of Vancouver engineers will be on site Monday to determine the future of the residential buildings.
The excavation is underway. The scene remains active. Investigators will be here today to figure out a cause. They know the fire started in the back of the building. Details on @CityNewsVAN. https://t.co/NZJ4CvrXat pic.twitter.com/M5feVDqeaT
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) October 2, 2023
Neighbours saddened by loss of businesses
As the cleanup from the fire continued Monday afternoon, some people who live nearby say the loss of the businesses will be felt.
One neighbour tells CityNews he and his roommates were regulars at the establishments involved in the fire.
“This is a travesty for the community because Nandos … it’s where we get our chicken, good food. But specifically, Sandy Farm Market was the cheapest produce store in town,” he said.
“This is so sad because they were members of the community and we’d go there every day and now they’re gone. I don’t know what to do.”
Another person who lives nearby says he knows the owner of one of the restaurants, calling him “very hard-working.”
“I feel really bad for not only the owner but also the employees who are now out of jobs,” he said.
Fire crews tell CityNews the cause of the fire may take a while to be determined given the extent of the damage.