August 25, 2013 - 3:19 PM
Just before dawn Sunday, Kelowna fire crews fought a stubborn blaze in a home at 609 Burne Ave., just northwest of Kelowna General Hospital.
As the sun rose, the plume of smoke from the fire could be seen from throughout the city.
When crews arrived on the scene at about 4:50 a.m., “smoke was coming out of the side of the house and flames were past the roof,” platoon captain Dale Calhoun said. “It was fully involved.”
Calhoun says the first order of business was to account for everyone who had been inside the turn of the century home.
Four people and a guest had been inside when the fire broke out. The four residents had managed to get out before crews arrived. The guest was rescued by firefighters. He was taken to hospital with burns to his hands and smoke inhalation. His injuries aren’t serious.
There were a few complications for fire crews. The house was built in 1906 and had been renovated. There were 4 separate suites in the 2-storey home.
“We were dealing with shiplap and plaster walls, not gyprock, so the fire is harder to put out with that,” according to Calhoun. “It makes it tougher to get into the walls… because it’s harder than gyprock. It’s harder to pull off.”
It took the Fortis BC crew longer than usual to turn off the power because the meters were hard to find in the heritage home. When they were found, firefighters couldn’t get the Fortis people in close enough to get to the meters right away.
“It’s going to be a complete loss with this house.”
There is still a shell of a house standing. The front half is there, but the back half is burned pretty much to the ground.
“There’s fire and smoke damage all the way through,” Calhoun said.
The residents of the heritage home are in the care of Emergency Social Services.
Fire investigators were on the scene Sunday morning looking for the cause.
According to the witnesses Calhoun spoke with, the fire started at the side of the house on a deck. He won’t speculate as to the cause.
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Video Credit: Andre de Zwaan
Kelowna firefighters battle a blaze at a heritage house on Burne Avenue.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013