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Vancouver Fire responds to over 800 calls over Family Day weekend

It was a very busy long weekend for firefighters in Vancouver, who say they responded to more than 800 calls for help, including almost three dozen fires.

Public Information Officer Captain Matthew explains weekends like this are becoming the new normal.

“Specifically with long weekends, where people are out more, or more during the day and at night, it drives up our calls all across the city for responses for car accidents, for fires, for alarm calls, for medical — everything will typically spike up,” he explained.

“We were averaging just over 200 calls per day, which is a bit higher than average.”

Trudeau tells CityNews five of the fires took place in single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels over the weekend, as the city is sees an average of one to two fires in the homes currently.

Trudeau notes no one was injured during the fires.

“Thankfully, people were able to get to other units or shelter … get our firefighters up there to put out the fire and then get people out or assist as needed,” he explained.

He says resources are often stretched, but Vancouver is actively recruiting and adding crew to deal with increasing demands and a growing population.

“Year over year, our average keeps going up. The spikes and calls keep increasing, and the demand for our services for all kinds of responses continues to go up.

“We’re often the first to overdoses over the long weekend — we had about 100 or so. Oftentimes, we’re the first because of our proximity all around the city, which gets us first on scene really quickly.

“Again, that’s not including the normal things that we’re up to, as far as our building inspections, our training, making sure our equipment and our trucks are ready to go. It is very demanding for crews and on all the resources.”

Trudeau explains in the River District alone, 15,000 more people are living in the community that didn’t exist a few years ago.

“We’re trying to keep up with retirements, our new hiring, but also the natural growth and the progression of the city on top of that.”

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