Explosive fire breaks out in Airbnb ‘Harry Potter closet’ near UBC (PHOTOS)
An explosive fire rocked a neighborhood in the University Endowment Lands (UEL) over the weekend. The fire was located in a quiet part of the Little Australia neighborhood.
About a year ago, Daily Hive Urbanized reported on an Airbnb ad tagged as “Harry Potter private room.” The suite amounted to what could be described as a closet in terms of the space provided.
While the “Harry Potter private room” listing has since been retired, several suites are still posted on Airbnb, and this week the house had an explosive surprise for the neighborhood.
A neighbor who chose to remain anonymous reported the situation to Daily Hive Urbanized, providing photos and recounting what the experience of this literal explosion was like in the neighborhood.
“Sorority houses, football teams, [and] students who come from overseas for the summer to party “are just a few of the guys who rent out the units in this house,” the neighbor said.
The owner of the suite, who goes by the name Lander Woods, has a tenant named William Sikkema, who basically turned the house into an inn.
The ads are up and running on Airbnb, although there are currently different suites listed with the exact same photos.
The neighbor, who lives only two blocks behind the house in question, suggested that they had tried to communicate the issues with UEL, but they did not receive much response.
The fire was the result of a commercial truck explosion owned by Sikkema, which ran a company called VanCity Scuba.
The neighbor suggested that Sikkema had parked his truck in the driveway and that it was essentially a miracle that no one was injured.
“It was very scary, all the neighbors were worried. The wind moved the fire to the neighbor’s garage, which has a very nice Mercedes inside. So he is very angry, ”they said.
“UEL has basically not done its job. UEL failed to protect the neighborhood. The neighbor went on to say that he believes the UEL is mainly to blame for not meeting better standards.
The neighbor, who has children playing in these streets, considers himself happy that neither their children nor anyone else was injured.
One of the reviews from last year indicated that the common areas had been divided to create more bedrooms and one of the private bedrooms did not have a window. They also suggested that the space was rarely cleaned.
While Airbnb currently has a party ban in place until the end of summer, that hasn’t stopped this sequel from being rowdy at times, essentially functioning as a party destination for college students in the height of the summer. the pandemic, with open fires, and more, according to the neighbor.
Sikkema told Daily Hive Urbanized that while the sequel once hosted big parties and gatherings, that behavior is no longer happening.
“The tenants before us were a football team that rented the house to throw weekend parties. From what they told me, they regularly had 200 to 500 students coming to their parties. They were eventually evicted for this behavior in April 2020. There have been no similar parties since, but some neighbors have not lost the impression that this is a party house.
“I use the house to provide affordable housing with flexible rental terms to my roommates. I use Airbnb to advertise the space, but I often switch to private contracts with roommates who want to stay long term. I wish it was true that everyone in Vancouver could access private housing at a price and for a period that suits them, but unfortunately that is not the reality we live in. For many, shared accommodation is the only option, and the space I offer meets a very real need.
Sikkema also suggests that the truck was fully parked on his property and not in the driveway.
He also said the cause of the fire was faulty old wiring in a shed near the truck, which then caused the truck itself to fire.
In a statement to Daily Hive, UEL said an investigation was underway on the property for numerous building code violations.