Fire destroys building, threatens SkyTrain station in downtown New Westminster

·1 min read
The fire caused the the roof of the commercial building, which was said to be more than 100 years old, to collapse. (Yvette Brend/CBC News - image credit)
The fire caused the the roof of the commercial building, which was said to be more than 100 years old, to collapse. (Yvette Brend/CBC News - image credit)

An early-morning fire has destroyed a commercial building beside a SkyTrain station in downtown New Westminster, B.C.

Firefighters were called at 3:16 a.m. Monday arrived to find the building in the 400-block of Columbia Street full of "pressurized' smoke, and beat a partial retreat before the roof collapsed.

New Westminster Fire Chief Tim Armstrong said firefighters' biggest concern was making sure the flames didn't spread to the adjacent Columbia SkyTrain station.

Crews from Coquitlam were brought in to assist, and Armstrong says he's thankful there was a firewall that stopped the fire's progress.

The fire on Columbia Street took hours to get under control, with crews brought in from Coquitlam to assist.
The fire on Columbia Street took hours to get under control, with crews brought in from Coquitlam to assist.(Yvette Brend/CBC NEWS)

By about 7:30 a.m. PT only smoke could be seen wafting from the collapsed roof as firefighters continued to spray the the front and top of the structure.

The renovated building was believed to be more than 100 years old.

Several restaurants, a tattoo parlour and a nightclub were destroyed or damaged in the fire, said Armstrong.

The most severe damage appeared to be on the top floor of the structure, involving the MagnetiQ Club Lounge.

Columbia Street remains closed due to the fire and people are asked to stay clear.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is not yet known.

Traffic was blocked on Columbia Street due to the early-morning fire.
Traffic was blocked on Columbia Street due to the early-morning fire.(Yvette Brend/CBC NEWS)
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