The knock on the door came early Sunday morning for many residents in condos as RCMP scrambled to evacuate buildings near a development under construction in Murrayville.
Shortly before 4 a.m. on May 17, a member of the Langley RCMP noticed a massive amount of smoke and flame coming from a condo development being built in the 22000 block of Fraser Highway.
â€œThe heat and flames were so intense that two other condominium structures began to catch fire,â€ said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy. â€œThe flames were estimated to be as high as 50 feet into the air.â€
The two neighbouring buildings are home to many elderly people and people with mobility issues.
â€œRegardless of the fact that a fire alarm was sounding in these buildings, nobody was evacuating their residence,â€ she said.
The RCMP member called for help from other officers to help with evacuations.
â€œThe task of evacuating the buildings was greater than could be handled by Langley members as the occupied buildings were quickly filling with smoke,â€ Largy said.
Approximately 40 officers (total) from Surrey RCMP, Abbotsford Police, the Integrated Road Safety Unit and Police Dog Services attended to assist with evacuation.
â€œWhen necessary, doors were breached to ensure everyone got out quickly and safely,â€ she said.
By about 4:30, some 200 suites had been cleared.
One Langley RCMP member was taken to hospital for exhaustion and smoke inhalation.
â€œWe are certainly grateful no one sustained any serious injuries and our own member was released only after a short visit to hospital. This was an amazing team effort which thankfully had a positive outcome,â€ said Langley Insp. Rob de Boersap.
Coast Mountain Bus helped to transport the people to the W.C. Blair Recreation Centre which temporarily housed 150 people while fire crews tackled the fire that destroyed the development. Langley RCMPâ€™s Client Support and Victim Services was at the rec centre to help anyone needing support.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.