Space heaters have been determined as the possible cause of a house fire in East Vancouver Thursday that took the life of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl.
Vancouver Fire Chief John McKearney says the mother tried to rescue her daughter but was stopped by the fire.
She suffered serious burns to her face in the process.
Two space heaters placed by her bed cause of fire, and no working smoke alarms at the house
— Jeremy Lye (@JJLye980) January 6, 2017
He says two space heaters were likely involved and were close to the sleeping area of the toddler. He says it seems that the house had no smoke alarms in the premises.
“Premises should have a minimum of one smoking alarm per floor, and ideally should have one smoking alarm in each bedroom.”
READ MORE: Youth dies in East Vancouver fire
McKearney says the child had a twin – who was sleeping in another bedroom at the time.
The mother and her other two children were able to get out of the house.
Crews were called to the two-alarm fire near East 15th ave and Nootka street around 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
— Vancouver Fire (@VanFireRescue) January 6, 2017
Multiple people reported hearing an explosion, which the fire department says was likely caused by aerosol cans.
Two families lived in the house but one family was not home at the time.
A GofundMe campaign has been set up to help the family.
Councillor offers his condolences
Vancouver Councillor Kerry Jang is a close neighbour to the family.
Close enough to call them his extended-family.
Kerry Jang lives so close he could hear the children from the window just 20 feet away.
He just saw all three playing outside a few days ago.
“Playing in the snow, we’d be teasing them and joking with the kids all the time.”
He says neighbours and classmates in the area are heartbroken over the tragedy.
“There was always a happy wave and a smile and a ‘hi, how are you’. The other neighbours in the neighbourhood really like the kids because they were super polite.”
Jang just arrived home when the fire was burning.
“My wife and I, my son and daughter, we did what we can to comfort them until they were taken to social services.”
He says he’s known the family for several years.
With files from Emily Lazatin.