Fire at Chinese Cultural Centre deemed suspicious: Vancouver Fire – BC
Firefighters arrived in central Chinatown around 5:30 pm on Sunday. Crew members say a suspicious fire broke out at the Chinese Cultural Center.
The building occupies almost a block along Pender Street between Carral and Columbia streets, according to Vancouver Fire Chief Ken Gemmill.
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“There is a smell of smoke and a black haze coming from the back alley on the south side of the building. They can gain access. It was where there was a fire, so they thought there was a fire,” Gemmill explained.
“Lots of shops, lots of ESL student centers. It’s not a habitable building, so as far as the residents are concerned, there don’t seem to be any injuries. It’s a commercial kind of access building.”
But Jemil said a firefighter injured his hand while trying to enter the building to find the source of the thick black smoke and was taken to hospital.
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The entire operation consisted of about 40 firefighters who closed off the surrounding area for hours while the fire and police investigated the suspected cause of the fire.
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“They have some footage and maybe some people, some eyewitnesses who saw someone lighting fires in the back,” Jemil added.
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But there was more smoke than fire, he says, so the crew is using minimal amounts of water to minimize damage to the iconic building.
“If there is a fire, we don’t want to lose this building. It is mainly concrete, but the interior ceiling and wall structure is wood and metal.”
The fire is the second warning fire in the area, the third in just over a day, Gemmill said.
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