Vancouver man with mobility challenges dies in apartment fire

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said the fire was caused by smoking

 A 55-year-old Vancouver man has died following a small fire in a Kitsilano apartment over the weekend.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services were called to an apartment building in the 2000-block of West 10th Avenue just after 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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Assistant fire Chief Dave Boon said crews arrived to find a fire in a unit on the second floor. When firefighters entered the suite, they found the man, who was “mobility impaired”, with second and third-degree burns to 80 per cent of his body.

Boon said firefighters quickly got the man out of the suite and performed first aid until paramedics arrived. He was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the family and the community for the loss,” he said.

Fire investigators have concluded the fire was accidental.

“The person was smoking in their room and accidentally caught themselves, their clothing and a small upholstered chair on fire,” said assistant fire Chief Ray Bryant.

He noted that smoking is the leading cause of fire-related fatalities in Vancouver and North America.

Between 2011 and 2019, the city saw $22 million worth of fire losses, and of the 23 fire fatalities in the last eight years, nine were caused by smoking.

“I would like to take this time to push a safety message, and that safety message is: Always have a fire extinguisher accessible, have a fire escape plan in your home, check your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice a year,” Bryant said. “I can’t say that enough. We need that early warning to get out of our homes safely.”

Bryant said that 63 per cent of fires start accidentally.

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