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After losing everything, Truswell residents scramble to find somewhere to live

Kelowna resident Steve Shortt's apartment and belongings were destroyed by fire last weekend.
Image Credit: Steve Shortt
July 12, 2017 - 11:30 AM

KELOWNA – Everything Steve Shortt owned is gone.

“The only belongings I have left is my uniform that I wore to work that day and my cell phone,” the 30-year-old cook says. “There are a couple walls that are standing, but you can’t recognize anything.”

Shortt lived with his roommate and their two dogs in the Walnut Grove Motel on Truswell Road. He had lived in that apartment since moving to Kelowna three years ago until a fire broke out at a construction site next door on the morning of July 8. Fire fully engulfed the six-storey building and caused it to collapse within a few hours. It also spread next door to Walnut Grove.

“Nine apartments are completely ruined,” he says. “We lost everything."

The dogs were not home when the fire started, however his hamster, snake and pet fish perished.

The fire on Truswell Road quickly engulfed a building under construction and spread next door.
The fire on Truswell Road quickly engulfed a building under construction and spread next door.
Image Credit: Contributed/Lora Proskiw

Shortt says the apartments at Walnut Grove are considered low income, and many of those displaced are on disability.

Monday night was their last allowed with Emergency Social Services and now they’re desperately trying to find somewhere to live in a city with one of the worst rental availability rates in the country.

“Our rent’s going to basically double no matter where we go,” he says. “We’re hunting (for a place), it’s just super slim pickings, especially if you have an animal. My employer has a trailer I can borrow in a week but I have nowhere to put it.”

Nine units in Walnut Grove Motel were destroyed by fire July 8, 2017.
Nine units in Walnut Grove Motel were destroyed by fire July 8, 2017.
Image Credit: Steve Shortt

Leave a comment below if you know of any short- or long-term rental units available in the Kelowna area.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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