The Willows apartment building on Third Avenue suffered heavy fire damage Friday morning.

UPDATED: Mission apartment fire displaces residents

Firefighters were called to an apartment building on Third Avenue

A Third Avenue apartment was destroyed by fire early Friday morning, leaving close to 50 people without homes.

The blaze was not suspicious, said fire inspector Mike Schmidt who took two days to complete the investigation and find the source. He attributed the fire, which originated in unit 16, the top floor on the southeast side, to “human failing.”

The bulk of the fire originated near the sundeck, added Schmidt, estimating damage at about $2.8 million.

“The damage was substantial because of the age of the building,” he said, noting at the time the building was built, attic spaces were not separated by firewalls, which is why the fire spread so quickly.

Numerous residents and their pets had to be rescued from the building, but no injuries were reported.

Mission Fire/Rescue responded to the Third Avenue and Ryan Street fire around 3:15 a.m. and found heavy fire shooting from the roof, said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Watkinson. Several residents were not even aware the building was ablaze, and firefighters had to break down doors to rouse people from their sleep, plus rescue people from balconies.

The 50-year-old building provided limited access to firefighters and didn’t have a sprinkler system. But it did have a fire alarm system which was serviced in January, said Schmidt, and there were smoke alarms in each unit.

The hallway alarm bells were ringing, but because the fire was in the roof, the wires were burned off, Schmidt explained, stressing on the dangers of an attic fire.

“In older buildings like this, early detection is key, which this had,” he added.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mission’s Walker signed by B.C. Lions

Former Roadrunner, Langley Ram standout signed by CFL club

Time capsule discovered, opened at Mission elementary school

Capsule opened in front of students from West Heights Community School

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Salvation Army kettle campaign raises $121,000 in Abbotsford

Christmas fundraising up $20,000 over previous year

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Party bus door fault for years ahead of Langley woman’s death: Coroner

Tuesday report classifed Chelsea James’ death accidental, but was critical of bus inspection process

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Most Read