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Man rescued from smoke-filled apartment in Abbotsford

Neighbours in an Abbotsford apartment building rescued one of their fellow tenants on Thursday after he apparently fell asleep and left a frying pan burning on the stove.

Kevin Wells said he smelled and saw smoke coming from a second-floor suite at about 9:20 p.m. in the Abby Glen Apartments at the corner of Tims Street and George Ferguson Way.

He banged on the door of the unit, heard coughing and pulled the fire alarm. Two other tenants also helped, including one who unlocked the door.

They found an unresponsive man in a chair, dragged him onto his patio, and removed the scorched pan from the stove.

Wells said the smoke was thick.

“Basically, we could not see two feet in front of us until we could get the door open, let some smoke out and get the sliding door open.”

Fire crews arrived on the scene and used a ladder to get to the patio and bring the man down in a rescue basket. He was then transported to hospital.

"The individual involved was overcome, it appeared that he was overcome, but he was also intoxicated," said Abbotsford deputy fire chief Mike Helmer.

Two other tenants in the building were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

There were no serious injuries.

"I believe they are all fine. They were taken to hospital for observation," said Helmer.

While not a major fire, Helmer said the incident is significant because Abbotsford Fire Rescue is getting a high number of calls similar to this.

"This was basically a pot on the stove, full of rice ... Eventually, the food will ignite and they create a lot of smoke and it can overcome occupants of the house or apartment and eventually start a fire and get in the cabinets and cause more damage," said Helmer.

He said this incident should be a warning to people to be more careful.

"Kitchen fires are one of our leading causes of fires and that's something we are trying to combat."

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