May 26, 2014 - 12:14 PM
VERNON – No word yet on the cause of a fire that destroyed two units in a townhouse complex on Middleton Mountain Saturday night.
Fire crews were called to the blaze at 1040 Mt. Revelstoke Pl. at about 7:30 p.m.
Flames and smoke could be seen for miles.
Deputy fire chief Jack Blair says the fire started on the balcony of one of the middle units in the row of townhouses. It spread up the side into the attic and to roof.
“It was windy up there and that helped the fire quickly spread to the neighbouring unit,” Blair says. He figures it took minutes.
When fire crews arrived the blaze was already going full tilt.
The family was having dinner when their neighbours alerted them to the fire on their balcony, according to Blair.
“When they opened the door there were flames everywhere”
He says there is extensive structural damage to two of the units, the home where the fire started and a neighbouring unit.
Firefighters set up fans in the adjacent townhomes to pressurize the inside stopping the fire’s spread. But even then, the other units sustained heat and smoke damage to varying degrees.
No one was hurt and the families left homeless are in the care of Emergency Social Services until their insurance kicks in.
Blair figures the damage was considerable, in the $1.3 million range once the destroyed contents in the homes is added up, including cars in the garages.
The burnt out homes were too dangerous for investigators to get into Sunday.
“That will be Monday’s job,” Blair says. Heavy equipment will be needed to stabilized the rubble so investigators can probe for the cause.
“Usually with a balcony fire it’s the barbecue to blame, but we don’t think so in this case. The barbecue was unhooked from the natural gas supply and it hadn’t been used that day.”
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- This story was updated at 2:27 p.m., Sunday, May 25, 2014 to add comments from deputy fire chief Jack Blair.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014