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Devastating fire tears through Downtown Eastside buildings

It is the second fire on East Hastings in a week.
A fire broke out the night of Weds. July 6, 2022 at Street Church at 175 East Hastings at Main in Vancouver's DTES.

Update Sept. 8, 2022: The fire is now being investigated as arson, and Vancouver police have released video of three people they believe sparked the July 6 blaze. 

A devastating blaze tore through a Downtown Eastside building Wednesday night, leaving area residents overwhelmed by smoke and destroying a critical support venue for the community.

Flames broke out at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in a two-storey building in the 100 block of East Hastings Street and quickly spread to the adjoining two-storey structure housing the Vancouver Street Church.

No serious injuries have been reported.

Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry shared on social media that a pressing concern was protecting the residential building next door. 

Located in the heart of the DTES, Street Church is a Foursquare house of worship offering fellowship, teaching, and meals for those in need.

Fire officials say the two buildings are destroyed but they managed to keep the blaze from spreading east into the adjacent seven-storey Maple Hotel.

The roughly eighty residents of that low-income, rooming house-style hotel had to be moved out due to the heavy smoke, while crews also managed to keep flames from spreading west into the now-vacant Balmoral Hotel.

As of Thursday morning, Main at Hastings remains closed to traffic. TransLink notes buses serving the area are on detour as a result.

The fire is under investigation.

It is the second fire on East Hastings in a week, after a massive blaze completely gutted the Value Village store on the street, just west of Victoria Drive.

Earlier this year, a fire destroyed the Winters Hotel, a longstanding SRO in Gastown. Two people died in that fire. 

With files from the Canadian Press