‘The whole apartment is gone:’ Three people and a cat rescued from apartment fire in Victoria

'The whole apartment is gone:' Three people and a cat rescued from apartment fire in Victoria

Tenants at Murray Hill Apartments in Victoria woke up to an alarming scene early Saturday morning, as a suite went up in flames.

“The fire alarm went off, the smoke was pretty thick on the first floor,” said Art Lowe, manager of the building. “The whole apartment is gone. It’s going to have to be all re-done. She’s lucky to be alive.”

Firefighters arrived at the fully involved structure fire on 2315 Dowler Pl. at around 4:44 a.m.

“When they arrived, they found smoke and flames coming from a unit from the rear of the building,” said Gord Taylor, battalion chief with the Victoria Fire Department. “As they dragged the hose around, they realized quickly that there were rescues that needed to be completed as well.”

As the fire continued to spread, the occupant of the apartment managed to escape to her balcony. Her neighbours, on the concrete below, immediately joined in on the efforts to get her down to safety.

“I had two ladders down at the bottom there and they got the ladder up to the balcony,” said Lowe, adding the outcome may have been different if the other tenants hadn’t jumped into action right away. “Thankfully for that, nobody was seriously injured.”

The woman was taken to hospital for smoke inhalation and further observation.

Firefighters rescued two more people from another balcony that was next to the unit that caught fire.

Taylor said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation. He said the fire caused approximately $200,000 in damages, adding that the number could be higher in the coming days.

“Depends on how much smoke damage there is to the other units,” he said. “For sure the one unit is badly burned and smoke through the building could damage other units. So, we’ll have to see what people claim smoke damage on in their units.”

Taylor also said firefighters were able to rescue a cat from the burning apartment.

“It was in the affected unit . . . the cat was rescued from the unit after crews went in and it was taken to vet, but it’s alive,” he said.
Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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