Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Highrise fire in Metrotown Burnaby, Tenants rescued from 27th Floor, 4390 Grange

In what may have set a height record for Burnaby Fire -Rescue, tenants were rescued last night from the 27th floor of a condo tower in Metrotown. Seven tenants were rescued from a balcony on the 27th floor of the PANARAMA building [sic], 4390 Grange Street, and taken to Burnaby Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. The fire is considered "suspicious"and is under active investigation by Burnaby RCMP.
Windows of the burned out unit on the 27th floor, PANARAMA building on Grange Street, Metrotown. (photo by Curtis Kreklau) Nine Burnaby firetrucks responded to the blaze, but none of the B.F.D. aerial ladders extend to such a height. It is unknown what special provisions are being made to accomodate fire-rescue services for the SOVEREIGN and METRPOPLACE super-towers which will be completed in 2014.

As of this morning arson investigators had blocked off the 24th to 27th floors of the tower. The PANARAMA [sic] is generally considered a family-safe building, where the tenants go to the trouble of organizing annual Christmas parties. Maintenance and rentals are handled by GATEWAY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT and at the 27th floor the three-bedroom penthouse suites list at $2500 per month.
A recurrent problem with Metrotown Condos and high ratio rental towers, besides all the break-ins, is the ongoing presence of members of drug gangs who take up residence. There presence sometimes paralyzes the weaker condo associations. Burnaby Detachment RCMP will not go into buildings with their dogs unless actively chasing suspects. As a consequence, over the last 24 months some condo managers have taken to doing secret sweeps of properties with private security companies who offer canine service. It's an interesting phenomenon and I plan to interview one of the 'sniffer-dog for hire' investigators in the near future.
One thing is for sure - the Burnaby Fire Department will be giving thought to its ability to attempt fire-rescue at even greater heights, now that we have approval for two 45 to 46 storey towers in Metrotown.
Update - This afternoon the B.F.D. released details of the arson. There are four 3-bedroom apartments on the 27th floor of PANARAMA. The attacker ignited combustible material outside a door, and the flames burned through and into the apartment. An attempted multiple murder it would seem. I put in a query to the B.F.D. seeking to confirm this a height record for fire rescue, but did not get a response.

No comments: