Space heaters identified as cause of Vancouver fire that claimed toddler's life - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Monday night: Periods of snow. Low minus 3.

Space heaters identified as cause of Vancouver fire that claimed toddler's life

A sign and flowers are seen near a house where a two-year-old girl died and three others were injured in a house fire Thursday, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday January 6, 2017.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
January 07, 2017 - 10:57 AM

VANCOUVER - Space heaters caused a fire that killed a sleeping toddler and injured her twin sister, older brother and mother, fire officials said Friday.

The home also did not have working smoke alarms, said Fire Chief John McKearney.

Investigators have traced the blaze to two older-model space heaters placed near a bed where the girl, who was 2 1/2, was sleeping on Thursday afternoon, he said.

The girl's mother, twin sister and older brother all escaped and were taken to hospital, where they were treated for burns and smoke inhalation.

"The mother attempted to rescue both of her daughters. She was able to rescue the one daughter. She went in to rescue the other daughter but (the fire) was too involved," McKearney said, adding the mother suffered serious burns to her face and hands.

All three family members are expected to survive.

Another family that shares the house was not home at the time of the fire, he said.

Forty-five firefighters, along with police and arson investigators, responded to the blaze.

The house was already "fairly well involved" by the time crews arrived, the chief said. Investigators have determined there was also an explosion, likely caused by aerosol cans.

McKearney said the east-end neighbourhood's roads were unusually icy because of a cold snap in Vancouver, but that did not delay the response.

Firefighters did ask for salt and sand to be put down on the street to help stop water they used to fight the fire from freezing and making the roads increasingly slick.

The case is a difficult one for first responders, McKearney said.

"This is very much one of the toughest tragedies a community can have, a family can have. And certainly for our first responders to deal with."

The outcome may have been different if the home had a working smoke alarm, McKearney said.

"This is a very sad outcome," he said. "We cannot overstate that a working smoke alarm saves lives. It's been proven time and time again."

All homes in British Columbia are required to have working smoke alarms.

McKearney encouraged people to make sure their alarms are working and to take care when using space heaters.

People should use newer space heaters that have safety features like an automatic shut off, he said, and they should not be placed close to flammable materials, including fabric.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Police search for missing Kelowna woman
    KELOWNA - Kelowna RCMP are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 27-year-old woman. RCMP say Joenna Saunders was last heard from on Nov. 27. She was reported missing on Dec.
  • Girl opens Christmas present she gave to boy when she dumped him in 1971
    ST. ALBERT, Alta. - A man in Edmonton who made international headlines for holding onto a wrapped Christmas gift from a high-school girlfriend who dumped him nearly 50 years ago finally learned wh
  • Water quality advisory in effect in North Okanagan
    NORTH OKANAGAN - The district has issued a water quality advisory for the North Okanagan. The Regional District of North Okanagan Silver Star Water Utility in conjunction with Interior Healt
  • Kamloops Fire Rescue respond to McDonalds deep fryer fire
    KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops McDonalds was temporarily closed last night due to a small deep fryer fire. Kamloops Fire Rescue arrived at the McDonalds location in Sahali at about 11:30 p.m. last ni
  • Vernon fast food restaurant held up by man with syringe
    VERNON - RCMP are on the hunt for a suspect after a robbery at a Vernon restaurant earlier this week. A man threatened staff with an allegedly contaminated needle on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Wr
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile