Building where Esquimalt woman died in a fire had working fire alarms

Fire crews from Esquimalt, CFB Esquimalt, View Royal and Victoria are being offered counselling after the tragic death of a woman in a fast-moving apartment fire yesterday afternoon.

The BC Coroner's service confirms a woman in her 60's died in the blaze after becoming trapped in her 4th floor unit. 

Witnesses report the terrified woman trying to escape the smoke and flame on her balcony, as members of the public tried to convince her to jump into a blanket they were holding for her.

Esquimalt Fire Chief Chris Jancowski told CTV News Vancouver Island that crews tried, but couldn't get to the woman.

" We made rescue attempts yesterday, which were unsuccessful. The female occupant was found in the unit. At this point the loss of life is under the investigation of Victoria Police and the Coroner's Service.  We don't think there's any suspicious activity at this time at all. And Fire will be issuing an investigation in the hours and days to follow for fire cause and origin."

Jancowski confirms the building did have a working fire alarm system:

"We've already had conversations with the manager. They had the fire alarm company in just a few months ago to do their annual serving. Indications from the occupants reported the alarms going off, which is good. "

Meantime fire crews were able to rescue a half dozen residents. But the tragic loss of the woman is weighing heavily on all involved, and Jancowski says crews are being offered counselling.

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