Residents, David and Maggie Wesley were driving from the hospital after 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, when they saw black smoke rising into the night sky.
The fire displaced more than 10 people confirmed Veronika Stewart, communications manager for the city.
“We saw the smoke in the air and went and checked it out,” said David Wesley, adding he was concerned the fire may have been at his son’s home.
“There was no fire truck outside yet.”
Wesley called out to the tenants asking if anyone had called 911.
“The people that were there seemed to be in shock,” he said. Wesley added that tenants were concerned about their belongings, which were already engulfed in flames.
Wesley took action when he saw three children, two standing and one in a stroller with their mother at the doorway of one of the lower units in the four-unit structure.
He ran to the family and grabbed a stroller, which had a child approximately 4 years old sitting inside. He carried the child up the stairs to Fulton Street.
“I ran back down and grabbed a little boy’s hand and I ran with him,” David said, calling out to the remaining tenants to get out of harm’s way. Wesley described all three children as under 5 or 6 years old.
David and Maggie said that two occupants of the second lower unit were the last to be evacuated from the building.
“We didn’t know they were in there,” David said.
“They were sound asleep,” Maggie added.
David said the fire moved quickly through the home and he thought the fire started in the basement.
David’s wife Maggie watched the scene unfold and took out her iPad and captured video of the fire, but her involvement in the incident continued.
“Everybody in that building lost everything,” she said. “We took socks to the hospital in the evening.”
Maggie and David have also offered a recently purchased bunk bed to the family they assisted when they have a new place to stay.
“It should go to someone who could use them,” Maggie said.
David said this was the second time he’s been involved in assisting victims of a fire. In the early 1980s, he entered a burning building to make sure people had been safely evacuated.
“This time, I just stood by the door because of the smoke,” he said. “It was really thick smoke.”
Emergency Social Services are available for victims to access.
On the Emergency Management BC website, Emergency Social Services provides temporary public aid up to 72 hours of essentials including mass lodging and food services provided in churches, schools or stadiums, as well as emergency clothing, basic toiletries, prescriptions or absolute necessities. In the case of smaller incidents, ESS temporary shelter is provided in local hotels.
The cause of the fire has not been revealed and Northern View is still waiting to hear from the Fire Department.