Three Port Moody residents were rescued after a structure fire ignited at a four-unit townhouse in the 2000-block of Panorama Drive early Monday morning.
Fire crews from Inlet and Glenayre fire halls raced to Heritage Woods at about 4:40 a.m. to deal with the blaze.
An off-duty Surrey firefighter who lives in the neighbourhood met the crews, directing them to the rear of the building where three people were waiting for help on a balcony.
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The firefighters scrambled up the ladder and helped the three people to safety. The Port Moody residents and the off-duty firefighter were taken to hospital for possible smoke inhalation, said Port Moody Fire Chief Darcey O’Riordan.
As volunteer firefighters as well as a team from Coquitlam Fire and Rescue made their way to Panorama Drive, Port Moody firefighters turned their attention to the structure fire.
“They had it knocked down within 45 minutes,” O’Riordan said.
As the crew doused hot spots, Coquitlam firefighters searched the suites for pets, rescuing two cats, two geckos, and a guinea pig. Later that afternoon a Port Moody firefighter also found a pet snake, O’Riordan said.
While the assessment is ongoing, at least three of the townhouses showed “significant fire damage,” according to O’Riordan.
Initial information suggests the fire “may be suspicious,” according to Port Moody Police Department communications officer Const. Sam Zacharias.
“Preliminary information collected on scene by investigators indicated the incident may be suspicious in nature but we are still in the very early stages of the investigation,” Zacharias explained.
Detectives attended the scene on Monday to investigate the blaze, according to Zacharias.
The fire is believed to have started in one of the townhouse units, according to Zacharias.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact the Port Moody Police Department.