December 31, 2013 - 8:26 AM
KELOWNA - Apartment fires in 2013 ignited not only buildings but a debate on balcony safety. Fire officials recommended that civic laws be amended to require sprinklers be installed on all balconies.
The largest and most significant fire happened in July and forced the evacuation of several hundred residents of an apartment building in Rutland.
The cause of the fire at the Legacy II was determined to be a barbecue on the patio. It prompted responses from fire officials, who recommended that a ban on barbecues be enforced for apartment buildings.
July was a hot month for apartment fires, with a second blaze at 445 Franklyn Road sending two people to hospital with smoke inhalation. The cause was suspected to have been a carelessly discarded cigarette, which added further fuel to the debate on balcony safety.
The Legacy II fire spread along the exterior of the building, where there were no sprinklers and Fire Chief Jeff Carlisle said that had the building been equipped with sprinklers, the fire would not have been as bad as it was.
A third fire at a townhouse complex on Lester Rd. caused approximately $350,000 damage after smoking materials left on a balcony ignited combustable material and spread along the exterior of the building. There were no sprinklers in place.
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Residents wait outside their building on Lester Rd. after a fire started on a balcony and spread to the roof.
Image Credit: Julie Whittet
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013