Byron Frances and Nykko Phillips put their lasagna in the oven Sunday afternoon to thaw, set the temperature, then went outside their Vernon condo to have a smoke and a walk.
Coming back to the Urban Pointe Condominiums in the 3800 block of 28th A Street, just before 4 p.m., the roommates heard fire bells, smelled smoke, saw two Vernon Fire Rescue Services trucks and firefighters and fellow tenants gathering outside the building.
“We thought maybe it was our oven so we wanted to get inside and turn it off,” said Frances.
It wasn’t the men’s condo. Rather their neighbour’s, an unidentified woman who had been in the process of moving out.
“She came back to the building and found out it was her apartment,” said Frances, adding that Phillips was able to get inside and turn their oven off.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services was called to the scene and found smoke coming from one suite on the first-flour of the four-storey building that is home to approximately 40 units.
“We pulled up to the scene and could smell smoke; we were told it was on the first floor east, went into the first floor and it was full of smoke,” said Capt. Doug Imrich. “We had two members grab a hose line. It was in the first suite and it was a pot on the stove.
“The crew did a great job, got the fire out quickly and then we ventilated the building.”
Imrich said the fire was contained to the one suite which suffered smoke damage.
“The woman was moving out and didn’t think there was anything in the suite, but there was a pot on the stove,” said Imrich. “There wasn’t a lot of materials in the suite.”
Firefighters are familiar with the building, having been called there to what Imrich described as “numerous false alarms.” Even some residents didn’t heed the fire bell warning, thinking it was just another false alarm.
“The false alarms can get people a little complacent but people have to realize, whenever they hear the alarms they have to evacuate the building,” said Imrich. “The majority of people did evacuate the building. We were told there were a few people who are nonambulatory and they remained in place which is what we wanted.”
There were no injuries and residents were allowed back into the building after being outside for about 40 minutes.