Langley condo fire spews insulation and other debris over wide area

Chunks of charred building materials found blocks away from site of Monday fire

Charred material found on the property of a Black Press Media employee at 210th Street and 72nd Avenue, carried from the massive condo fire at 208th Street and 80th Avenue overnight April 19, 2021. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Charred material found on the property of a Black Press Media employee at 210th Street and 72nd Avenue, carried from the massive condo fire at 208th Street and 80th Avenue overnight April 19, 2021. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

The impact of Monday night’s condo fire was felt far beyond the community of Willoughby.

Firefighters were dispatched to the area of 208th Street and 80th Avenue around 9:30 p.m. on Monday, where a condo complex under construction had gone up in flames.

Tuesday morning residents in neighbouring communities woke to find debris outside their homes.

“There are reports of ash as far away as Pitt Meadows,” said Andy Hewitson, assistant chief with the Township of Langley fire department.

READ MORE: Willoughby Fire: The aftermath of the inferno in Langley

One resident who lives about one mile away from the fire scene said she woke to find a variety of material in her front yard.

“They were all sorts of different sizes,” said Vivian Gillard. “Insulation, paint from a wall – it was everywhere in our neighbourhood. On the roads, hanging in the tree – looked like a piece of paint hanging from a tree.”

Gillard said she was surprised to see how far the large pieces of material had travelled. The fire was at 208th Street and 80th Avenue. She’s near 210th Street and 72nd Avenue.

So how did the debris travel the distance?

Hewitson says its a result of a phenomenon called thermal plume, a massive amount of heat generated fire.

“As you see with your camp fire the heat carries the smoke and embers upwards until they cool off and loose velocity and either dissipate or fall to the ground,” he explained.

“With fires of this magnitude, much larger particles are moving at a higher velocity and will carry much further. The size of ash and unburned materials is proportionate to the amount of energy released by the fire, and the distance these embers travel is also impacted by prevailing winds.”

READ MORE: Evacuees describe seeing ‘Armageddon’ as embers rained down on Langley homes

The size and intensity of the fire caused the debris to scatter far.

“If you think of the embers like hot air balloons that are launched skywards by the force of the heat plume, then are carried by the winds until they cool off, it will give you an idea of how much energy is released by these incidents,” Hewitson explained.

“For those of us old enough to remember when Mount St. Helen’s erupted, there was ash in the Lower Mainland.”

It was thermal plume that carried those materials to Gillard’s yard and neighbourhood.

“A couple of them when I touched them, they would just fall apart in my hands,” she said. “They were crispy you could say.”

Gillard said to she collected the material and disposed of it.

But Hewitson wants to remind residents to be safe if they discover any material from a fire.

READ MORE: Developer promises burned Langley condos will be rebuilt

“Pick it up with something to avoid touching it with your bare hands,” he said. “Make sure it is not still smouldering, and then dispose of it.”

Crews worked through the night to extinguish the blaze, and remained on scene much of Tuesday dousing hot spots in the rubble.

“There will be a lot of smoke for some time while crews put out hot spots,” Hewitson said.

Gillard said she didn’t recall smelling smoke in her neighbourhood on Tuesday morning, but says it was hazy.

Have a story tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

fireLangleyLangley Township

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Garth Dauncey is one of the volunteers working on renovations at a Langley City home for the AOK Extreme Home Repair project. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
AOK home repair could use funding support to aid Langley family

A GoFundMe is looking to raise up to $80,000

Calvin Singh, a 17-year-old Aldergrove Secondary student, earned the Jodi Steeves Kindness Scholarship. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove teen earns Jodi Steeves Kindness Award and the $1,000 that goes with it

Calvin Singh won the scholarship for showing constant kindness and positivity

Langley’s Avery Heppell has been named to Volleyball Canada’s Women’s NextGen National Team. (TWU)
Langley’s Avery Heppell has been named to Volleyball Canada’s Women’s NextGen National Team

Trinity Western University player to attend 10-week training session

One man was seriously injured in a shooting incident at the Willowbrook Shopping Centre on Monday, May 3. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
LETTER: Student poem about Langley shooting gets to the heart of the matter

All the gang violence is fueling the fight, says a young writer

One of three new hangars can be seen going up at the new Langley airport terminal building, blocking the view of the old air traffic control tower (L) , which was closed when NAV Canada operations shifted to the new tower (R).(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Construction of new Langley airport terminal building nears completion

NAV Canada has moved into the new tower in the terminal, which means work on hangars can proceed

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read