West Vancouver mansion engulfed in flames for 3rd time

A house in West Vancouver that became engulfed in flames Friday morning was undergoing renovations and had been involved in a fire before, police say.

The 4,000-square-foot home in the 2600 block of Chelsea Close was already completely engulfed in flames when the first fire truck arrived shortly after 1:30 a.m. PT.

Officials say two out of three storeys have collapsed, and the house is likely damaged beyond repair. Assistant Fire Chief Tony Bird said crews had to keep back and try to attack from above.

"It was an extremely difficult one because it hadn't broke through the roof while it was fully involved. And it had double glazed windows so we had trouble getting water into it," said Bird.

"But once it broke through the roof and we got the tower on it, we knocked it down pretty quick."

No one was home at the time of the blaze, and investigators say the home was under renovation at the time of the fire. It is still unknown what caused the blaze.

Officials say they do not think it is suspicious, but the house had been involved in two fire incidents before, once in June this year and previously in September 2012.

Drywaller Pierre Rilley says he had been renovating the house all week. He returned Friday morning to finish the stairwell only to find the entire house ablaze. Rilley told CBC News he was hired to fix some damage after an earlier fire.

"It's been burning twice, and now it burned another time," he said.

West Vancouver police Sgt. Paul Skelton confirmed detectives have been in the area before under similar circumstances.

"You don't rule anything out at this point," he said, "It's early in the investigation."

A forensic team has been brought in, and police have been door to door speaking to neighbours. They're asking anyone who saw anything suspicious to contact them. A woman identified as the home's owner declined to comment.

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