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Chilliwack crews called to fire in low-income residence under construction

‘To say we are devastated would be an understatement,’ say Wilma’s Transition Society officials
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Chilliwack Fire Department. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Firefighters prevented a blaze from causing extensive damage to a Wilma’s Transition Society residence that was under construction in Chilliwack early Tuesday morning.

The Chilliwack Fire Department was called to the 5700-block of Vedder Road after reports came in of smoke in the area around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

Crews arrived to find black smoke venting from a “multi-storey residential building under construction,” assistant fire chief Chris Wilson stated in a press release later that same day.

The 18-unit building is a low-income residence for victims of gender-based violence. Construction on the housing project started in the summer of 2022 and it was expected to open in 2024.

READ MORE: Federal housing minister in Chilliwack to announce $10 million for low-income project for women

“To say we are devastated would be an understatement,” Wilma’s wrote in a statement on Dec. 19.

Crews quickly entered the building and discovered a fire on the ground floor, which was brought under control through an offensive attack by fire crews, Wilson stated.

The building sustain some fire, smoke and water damage, but firefighters were able to successfully prevent major damage due to their swift actions, he added.

“We are so sorry to the community and all who were going to be relying on this facility for future housing and support in the New Year, but to add that we are so thankful that no one was injured in the fire is all that is important at this time,” Wilma’s wrote.

The long-term, low-income housing is specifically dedicated to support women and children who are victims of gender-based violence.

“We want to thank the Chilliwack Fire Department for their swift action on arriving on scene and subduing the fire to limit damage to the structure.”

Approximately 30 firefighters from Halls 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 responded to the scene. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.

The fire is under investigation by Chilliwack Fire Department officials and the RCMP.

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call the RCMP at 604-792-4611 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or chilliwackcrimestoppers.ca.

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Jenna Hauck

About the Author: Jenna Hauck

I started my career at The Chilliwack Progress in 2000 as a photojournalist.
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