Quick response to huge fire on Sunday

Police and fire departments played a big role in alerting people and dealing with a massive fire that threatened an adjacent building.

The huge fire early Sunday morning in Murrayville prompted a massive response from emergency officials and the community in general.

While the fire itself was in a condominium complex that was under construction, its proximity to a fully-occupied building made it a real hazard. Langley RCMP made it a priority to notify people in  adjoining buildings,  because it was the middle of the night and most were fast asleep when the fire broke out.

The Langley Township fire department was also quick to respond, and had plenty to deal with when firefighters arrived.

They were able to eventually knock down the raging fire and keep damage to the neighbouring building to a minimum. Nonetheless, it is still significant. A number of people in that building have been affected. They are out of their homes temporarily, and many have lost possessions.

The prompt response by emergency officials, and their follow-up briefings to affected residents, are greatly appreciated. They kept a traumatic situation from becoming a full-blown  tragedy, and their efforts make the community better.

I’m sure that every resident who was affected by this fire is very grateful to the fire and police departments for their work.

Thanks also to Langley Township for making the nearby W. C. Blair facility available at an early hour on Sunday so that displaced residents could gather there.

On another subject, I received a number of phone calls after last week’s column on the murder-suicide involving four members of the Janzen family.

As noted in the column, the deaths have had a profound effect on those who knew the family. That was confirmed by the responses I received. All of the people I talked to knew the Janzen family, at various stages of their lives, going back to when Shelly and Randy were children.

One caller said that her children were friends with the two Janzen kids as they were growing up in a quiet rural area of Langley Township that is now occupied by big box stores and townhouse developments.

She said the family were wonderful neighbours. Shelly and Randy’s father helped out as an assistant coach of Randy’s hockey team at the Langley Civic Centre when it first opened in the early 1970s.

Another was a co-worker of Randy’s at S and R Sawmills, a large complex of mills straddling the Surrey-Langley border along the Fraser River.

He said Randy showed no signs of being mentally ill, but did mention to co-workers how his daughter’s intense migraines had a major effect on the family. He said that Randy frequently spent most of the night at the hospital, after taking his daughter there to deal with the intense pain, and then came to work the next day.

A memorial service, likely for all members of the family, is being planned. The Times will publish details when they become known. It will likely take place at  a larger venue than Bethel Mennonite Church, where the Janzens have been part of the congregation for decades. This is to accommodate what is expected to be a large crowd.