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Vernon apartment catches fire, then gets looted

Shattered windows and scorched walls stand in contrast to other areas of the building which appear intact.
April 02, 2013 - 11:18 AM

UPDATE: 4:19 p.m. April 2

By Charlotte Helston

It's been one thing after another for the residents of a Vernon apartment building that caught fire Sunday night.

While the building was empty of residents, a restoration worker says looters crept in and stole two laptops.

Diane Prince of On Side Restoration says she was face to face with one of them.

"One of them came out the back door, and I knew no one was allowed in," Prince says. "He had his head down, so I told him, look at me, and I took a picture of him."

She sent that photo to the RCMP and says they've since apprehended the man. Media sources say a 33-year-old man was arrested in connection to the incident.

"It just annoyed me so much. I didn't know he was a looter, I just knew he wasn't supposed to be in there."

Prince can't believe there are people who would take from those who have already lost so much.

"They should be giving, not taking," she says.

The fire started in a second floor apartment and forced every resident out for the night. It happened suddenly, just as many were sitting down to an Easter dinner.

"In this situation, people have to just leave. They can't lock their doors, they don't have time," Prince says.

Deputy fire chief Lawrie Skolrood says the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

"We're still sifting through debris, we have a few theories, but nothing specific," Skolrood says.

Three apartments were badly affected by the fire, while the rest suffered only heat and smoke damage. Damage to the building is estimated at between $200,000 to $400,000.

"Most people are back in," Skolrood says. "It'll be a while yet for the apartments that were most damaged."

Prince says her crew is working hard to undo the damage of the fire and give residents their homes back.

"We're doing our best to get everyone back in," she says. "What happened with the looters, it really irks me."

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call (250)309-5230.

Residents of the three units most affected by the fire will not be able to return home for some time, says Vernon's deputy fire chief.
Residents of the three units most affected by the fire will not be able to return home for some time, says Vernon's deputy fire chief.

11:18 a.m. April 2, 2013

Smoke and flames sent residents running Sunday night after a Vernon apartment building caught fire.

Vernon Fire Rescue arrived at Capri Gardens on 35th Ave. around 6:30 p.m. They continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Security guards are on site.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infotelnews.ca or call (250)309-5230.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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