An elderly woman was pulled to safety in a dramatic rescue from the balcony of a burning apartment building in Maple Ridge, Saturday.
Reports of a loud explosion preceded the fire on the 2200 block of 122 Avenue, just after 6 a.m.
Firefighters rescued residents trapped on the first floor by heavy smoke.
“We heard a small voice yell for help, and it turns out there was a victim on the third floor,” Maple Ridge Fire Chief Dane Spence told CTV. “The unit was on fire, and she had collapsed on the balcony.
“In my 30 years of doing this, this was the most harrowing rescue that I have ever seen,” he said. “Firefighters literally, flames were licking at their backs as they carried the lady over the balcony and on to the ladder and down the stairs.”
The woman is recovering in hospital.
The fire left dozens homeless, and emergency social services is providing temporary housing.
A cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.
– with files from CTV Vancouver