February 05, 2014 - 2:36 AM
"I CAME OUT OF THE GARAGE AND I SAW FIRE EVERYWHERE"
KELOWNA - A fire that started at a townhouse in Rutland sent one man to hospital and left several residents shivering in the cold and wondering where they would be sleeping Tuesday night.
Kelowna Fire Department got the call shortly after 11 p.m. that a structure fire had broken out at 126 Hartman Road on the corner of Rutland Road. Initial reports were that it had started in the basement and had spread to the floors above but Platoon Capt. Dennis Miller said this morning that firefighters confined the blaze to the garage.
Resident Debbie Mueller-Jones says the fire started in the basement of the unit next to hers. She was working on her computer when she heard neighbours shouting.
"I came out of the garage and I saw fire everywhere,” she says. “On the back wall (of the garage) everything was on fire in this apartment and it was spreading to mine.”
She gathered up her nine-year-old daughter, their small dog and were able to escape unharmed. She says she is not insured and worries about paperwork she was forced to leave behind.
Another neighbour, Cody Marcotte, says he knows how the fire started. He says he spoke with a neighbour he found sitting in front of the building with what appeared to be burn marks on his face shortly after the fire started. Marcotte also says the man told him he was smoking next to flammables in his garage at the time.
“One guy who said he had caused the fire came out and his face was burnt… and he said he had lit a cigarette in his garage and all of a sudden it exploded in his face.”
Marcotte had only enough time to grab his two pet ferrets and his laptop before the building was evacuated. Several families were left out in the -14 degree cold, either gathered together in vehicles or huddled in blankets on the sidewalk as firefighters assessed the extent of the damage.
Displaced families were cared for by Emergency Social Services. Kelowna Fire Department confirmed that one man was taken to hospital.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250) 718-0428 or tweet @AdamProskiw.
—Edited at 7:46 a.m. to include information from Kelowna Fire Department
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014