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One dead in West Vancouver apartment blaze

ONE person is dead after an early-morning fire broke out in an apartment block in the Ambleside neighbourhood of West Vancouver. Firefighters rushed to the multifamily residence at 1485 Duchess Avenue at about 2 a.m.

ONE person is dead after an early-morning fire broke out in an apartment block in the Ambleside neighbourhood of West Vancouver.

Firefighters rushed to the multifamily residence at 1485 Duchess Avenue at about 2 a.m. Tuesday when the building's fire alarm was activated. Although the complex appeared fine from the outside, the crew found one of the units on an upper floor filled with smoke. They tracked the source to a smouldering fire, which they quickly extinguished.

The firefighters found the unit's only occupant dead at the scene.

The cause of the victim's death has not been released, but police don't consider the incident suspicious. The B.C. Coroner's Service was on hand to examine the remains Tuesday morning.

Although the outcome was tragic, the fire could have been much worse had it not been for features of the apartment block that were designed to keep flames in check, said West Vancouver division Fire Chief Martin Ernst. The concrete structure's pressurized hallways prevented smoke from escaping from the suite, he said, and its fire door would have kept flames contained for as long as 45 minutes.

The blaze was so completely sealed in that firefighters found the hallway smoke free, and had to examine each apartment's door in turn to locate it, said Ernst. Once inside, the smoke was so thick they had to track the flames down with a heat camera.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The victim's name has not been released.

jweldon@nsnews.com

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