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2013 - The Year in Review: Structure fires claimed three lives

Above: Township of Langley fire crews battled a blaze at a fourplex on Old Yale Road in late November. The fire killed an elderly woman and left several people homeless; below: City of Langley crews help a resident of the Elm building at Langley Lodge out of her suite during the first of three fatal fires in the Langleys in 2013.  - Shane MacKichen file photo
Above: Township of Langley fire crews battled a blaze at a fourplex on Old Yale Road in late November. The fire killed an elderly woman and left several people homeless; below: City of Langley crews help a resident of the Elm building at Langley Lodge out of her suite during the first of three fatal fires in the Langleys in 2013.
— image credit: Shane MacKichen file photo

This week, The Times is taking a look back at the events that helped shape the past year.

From the widely unexpected results of  May's provincial election (and its repercussions for the Langleys) to the people we lost — both pioneers, who lived long and fruitful lives and a pair of young men who were taken too soon — 2013 was a year of ups and downs.

A trio of fatalities made 2013 one of the worst years for fire deaths in recent memory.

The Township meanwhile, found itself at the centre of two major development controversies in 2013, while the criminal element didn't appear to distinguish between the two municipalities.

And a Langley father of three took desperate measures in his fight to stay in Canada.

Of course, it wasn't all gloom and doom, as tens of thousands once again gathered in Langley City's downtown core for the annual Good Times Cruise In, the annual Langley Has Talent competition helped a young mother and aspiring opera singer move one step closer to realizing her dream and a group of children did their part for the environment by planting saplings at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.

•••

Three people, all seniors, died in three separate fires in the Langleys in 2013.

The first fatal blaze broke out in the Elm building at Langley’s Rainbow Lodge in April.  It killed an elderly man, seriously injured another man and two others while displacing around 100 residents.

The building in which the fire broke out was not equipped with sprinklers and the man died of smoke inhalation.

Late in the year, two house fires which broke out within days of one another, claimed the lives of two women.

A fire at an older fourplex on Old Yale Road in late November killed an elderly woman, injured her partner and left three people homeless.

Material left too close to a bedroom space heater is the suspected cause of the blaze which quickly spread.

The three men who were left homeless had very little to survive on to begin with so the Langley community and local RCMP joined forces to help.

Then, on Dec. 8, another house fire killed a 64-year-old woman in Langley City. That blaze was caused by the breakdown of wiring insulation, investigators determined.

The fire started around 9 p.m., but when firefighters arrived, the flames had already spread into the attic. The fire made it too dangerous to go inside, so it took sometime for a crew to safely enter, where they found the woman’s body.

The house fire, which was in the 20300 block of Grade Crescent, claimed the woman’s life, in addition to killing a cat and a dog.

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