The rubble left behind at the construction site of the Alexander Square development. The Willoughby condo fire at 208th Street and 80th Avenue on April 19, 2021 was reported around 9:30 p.m. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)

The rubble left behind at the construction site of the Alexander Square development. The Willoughby condo fire at 208th Street and 80th Avenue on April 19, 2021 was reported around 9:30 p.m. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Council will consider construction fire prevention after Langley condo fire cause determined

Investigators are still working on a report on the site

Can something be done to reduce the fire risk at condos and townhouses under construction in Langley?

That was a question Township of Langley council looked at during its Monday, May 31 meeting, but ultimately there won’t be action until after the investigation into the cause of April’s massive condo fire is wrapped up.

Councillor Petrina Arnason put forward a motion asking that Township Fire Chief Stephen Gamble undertake a review to see if there were any changes the council could make to prevent future fires on that scale.

The blaze, on April 19 and 20, levelled a large portion of the condo and townhouse project at 80th Avenue and 208th Street in Willoughby. Clean up crews are still working on the site as of June and the standing portions of the project suffered significant damage.

Arnason noted that buildings under construction are more vulnerable to massive fires.

“The fire, for me, at 80th and 208th highlighted the fact of how vulnerable we are,” she said.

She wondered if there are any practices that the Township could enforce to make them safer.

“There are a lot of what I consider to be loopholes which could be addressed by other methods, that could be made enforceable,” she said.

READ MORE: Developer promises burned condos will be rebuilt

After some debate over the specifics of her motion, and whether it was too broad in scope, the council asked Gamble himself for some input.

The fire chief said he wanted to know just what the council was looking for.

“As far as the fire itself, it’s still under investigation,” he said.

The cause of the blaze remains undetermined.

That helped make up council’s mind. A majority voted to hold off on looking into fire regulations until the report on the cause of the fire is delivered.

Coun. Bob Long noted that previous fires in Langley have changed legislation and made buildings safer.

A few months after a whole wing of the Paddington Square condo in Langley City burned down, the provincial fire code was changed to require sprinklers on exterior patios of all low-rise condos.

The Paddington fire is thought to have started with a cigarette that sparked a fire on a top-floor balcony. The fire got into the roof and attic, and then burned sideways and down, destroying the building.

Arnason and Coun. Margaret Kunst opposed the deferral.


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