Vancouver Street Church destroyed in fire on Downtown Eastside

Fire rips through church

Fire has swept through two buildings on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside including one that was an important gathering place for the hungry and homeless of the area.

Flames broke out about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in a two-storey building on the 100 block of East Hastings Street and quickly spread to the adjoining two-storey structure housing the Vancouver Street Church.

No serious injuries have been reported but the Street Church has provided meals and outreach in the neighbourhood for almost three decades.

Fire officials say the two buildings are destroyed but they managed to keep the blaze from spreading east into the adjacent seven-storey Maple Hotel.

The roughly eighty residents of that low-income, rooming house-style hotel had to be moved out due to the heavy smoke, while crews also managed to keep flames from spreading to west into the now-vacant Balmoral Hotel.

A cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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