There was a huge fire in Richmond last night: the Remy was to be a mixed use complex with market housing and low income housing units. It was also the very first building to be constructed under controversial changes to the BC building code that allows higher wood frame construction. The fire knocked out electricty to about a 1,000 people in Richmond and burning ash started other small fires. By midnight all Richmond firefighters were on scene.
The development, “The Remy,” at 9388 Cambie, was to have been a 188-unit condo development that included varied affordable-housing options.
Premier Gordon Campbell was on hand to mark its groundbreaking in June of 2010. Taking advantage of building-code changes introduced in 2009, The Remy was to have been one of the first developments in B.C. to go more than four storeys high using wood, rather than concrete.
But in 2009, according to news reports, Richmond Fire Rescue warned the taller wood buildings could be a fire hazard, as the city’s ladder trucks could only reach 18 metres — around 12 metres short of a six-storey building.
Speaking to the Richmond Review in 2010 about those concerns, Campbell noted that the building-code changes had come with new fire safety standards, including a requirement for sprinklers that extended to balconies.
“This is done up to the most modern standards… It’s safe and secure housing for everyone,” he said. He noted that some cities build wood-framed building of up to nine storeys.
Read the full article over at the Vancouver Sun.