During the Vancouver high-rise fire, neighbors worked together to lift the old woman to safety


On Thursday night, after their apartment in West Vancouver caught fire, neighbors lifted an elderly woman down 15 flights of stairs to safety.

According to Assistant Fire Chief Trevor Connery, at about 6:15 PM Pacific time, after smoke and flames began to roll out of the apartment on the 14th floor, firefighters were called to Comox and The building on Thurlow Street.

When Marieke Leliveld, a resident of the building, heard the fire alarm and was about to go out of the stairs, he found an elderly neighbor sitting on a chair outside one of the suites, unable to get off by himself.

Leliveld told CBC News that she and two young people decided to carry her.

“I’m still a little emotional about it, because we hardly know whether we will succeed,” Leliveld said.

“We saw a lot of smoke coming out of the building.”

She said the journey downstairs felt like it took an hour. Everyone landed safely on the ground.

Family members told reporters at the scene that the woman had not left her apartment for three years.

The firefighters said that when they arrived, flames were shooting from the windows of the 14th floor apartment. (Maggie McPherson/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Connery said the woman was one of two residents who had to be helped out of the building.

The firefighters said that no one was at home in the apartment that caught fire, and no one was injured in the building.

According to Connery, the flames had just begun to penetrate the 15th floor, and when the firefighters extinguished the fire, the riser system malfunctioned. He said that it is unclear whether there are working smoke detectors in the building.

Fire investigators have not yet determined what caused the fire.



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