2 dogs saved as fire rips through East Vancouver duplex

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2 dogs saved as fire rips through East Vancouver duplex

A duplex in East Vancouver, half of which is currently listed for sale, was significantly damaged by a third-alarm fire Monday morning.

The fire broke out around 9 a.m. at the home on the corner of Charles Street and Salsbury Drive.

Deputy Fire Chief Brian Godlonton described difficult access for crews trying to put out the fire, which appeared to be most intense in the attic.

"We quickly upgraded this simply due to access, so it wasn't necessarily the fire apparatus that you see. It was the staffing, really, that was required to get to the seed of this fire," said Godlonton.

"We've got a heavy fire load in this house, so you can see it's burning quite extensively and quite hot. We've got 45 firefighters on scene, as of now," he said at the height of the blaze.

The owner of the upstairs suite, Don Szakal, believes the fire was caused by a guest carelessly discarding a cigarette butt on the patio.

Fire investigators haven't confirmed the homeowner's suspicions. Officials say it will take time to figure out how or where it started.

Szakal, who was at work when he learned his home was in flames, declined a recorded interview but said he wasn't worried about anything inside the house, since his two dogs, Snowy and Peanut, were safely outside.

Neighbour Emily Hein, who lives across the street, was one of the first people to notice the house was on fire.

"I just saw a couple neighbours opening — busting open the door, just to get the dogs out," said Hein, holding Peanut. "[I] saw the smoke and they'd already called the fire department."

Hein jumped in to help take the two tiny dogs.

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