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At least 40 people displaced by explosion and fire in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Assistant Fire Chief Pierre Morin says the cause of the explosion is not known
Police tape is shown in this Tuesday, May 2, 2107 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy

Dozens of people have been left without a home after an apparent explosion sparked a fire between two buildings in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Assistant Fire Chief Pierre Morin with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services says social services staff are trying to house at least 40 people from the single-room occupancy hotels.

Morin says the cause of the explosion is not known but it blew out a couple of windows before flames spread to the inside of the buildings.

He says there is significant fire and water damage to both hotels on Powell Street, which remains closed to traffic following the blaze, which is believed to have been sparked around 4 a.m.

Morin says one person suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

The blaze occurred in the same neighbourhood where a street encampment has been ordered dismantled by the city’s fire chief due to fire and safety concerns, prompting widespread discussions about homelessness in the city.

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