UPDATED: Langley City apartments sit empty months after fire

UPDATED: Langley City apartments sit empty months after fire

Repair work has not yet begun following the April fire.

Eight months after a fatal fire that drove 66 residents from their Langley City homes, no repairs or reconstruction have begun.

The April 12 fire on the Birch building killed one resident at the complex operated by the Langley Lions Senior Citizen Housing Society. (LLSCHS)

In the weeks after the fire, a few units were re-opened, but LLSCHS executive director Jeanette Dagenais said that the bulk of them would need some time to rebuild.

“The north wing is out for about eight months,” Dagenais told the Langley Advance last April.

But more than eight months later, she said no repair work has even begun.

“The rebuilding hasn’t started yet,” Dagenais said.

She blamed issues with insurance.

“I think insurance is different every time,” Dagenais said. She did not elaborate on what the insurance issues were.

Shortly after the fire, Dagenais said that there was significant water damage and that asbestos had been disturbed in the building.

Langley City has been in touch with the LLSCHS about rebuilding, said director of development services Gerald Minchuk.

He said that in June, the City contacted the society about needing some more documents and fees for the process to move forward. They haven’t heard from them since.

“It’s fairly routine, but the ball is in their court,” said Minchuk. “It has been for quite some time.”

Only 10 units have been reoccupied in the Birch building.

That leaves more than 50 units sitting empty since the fire.

Those displaced have been found new accommodations, Dagenais said.

“Most of them have been rehoused here,” she said, in other parts of the multi-building complex for seniors.

A few have moved away, and some have gone to assisted living or to BC Housing complexes, she said.

A previous fire at the Elm in 2013 also killed a resident, but half the residents of that building moved back within days.

The bulk of residents were back within the same calendar year.