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Fire destroys abandoned foundry in Burnaby flats

Burnaby firefighters pour water on an abandoned foundry building on Willard Street that was destroyed by fire Saturday morning. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Burnaby firefighters pour water on an abandoned foundry building on Willard Street that was destroyed by fire Saturday morning.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

A fire that destroyed an old foundry warehouse on Willard Street Saturday morning is the latest in a series of such fires over the past couple of years at the abandoned property.

That's frustrating and dangerous for firefighters, said assistant chief Mark Fletcher, who was in command of a crew of 30 that battled the latest blaze, that went to two alarms.

"All the buildings down here have had fires in the past," said Fletcher. "The buildings should be taken down. It's a problem dealing with the property owners, and when there's a fire in the building vagrants can get access to the buildings."

Fletcher said there was no indication anyone was inside the old foundry when it burned. Although, he said, there have been problems in the past with people taking up residence in the buildings. Two neighbouring structures showed evidence of previous fires, including charred and burned-out walls.

Last May a couple living in a trailer on the property was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning, likely from a generator that was undergoing repairs.

Fletcher said firefighters were hampered getting access to Saturday's fire by live hydro wires and the boggy soil that surrounds the buildings. The lot is also littered by abandoned vehicles and tires.

Firefighters responded to a call from neighbours reporting the fire at around 7:45 a.m. but had to wait for hydro crews to shut off power to the live wires.

Fletcher said fire investigators and the RCMP will look into what caused the fire.

 

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