UPDATE: Fire destroys apartment condo building in Penticton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Fire destroys apartment condo building in Penticton

Fire destroyed parts of this condo building early this morning, Oct. 27.
October 27, 2020 - 9:17 AM

Dozens of people had to be evacuated from a three-storey condominium building in Penticton after an early more fire this morning.

Clarence House, located at 217 Elm Avenue in the south end of the city near Skaha Lake caught fire around 4:10 a.m. today, Oct. 27.

"We could see smoke and flames in the air upon leaving Fire Hall number two and called a third alarm," Penticton Fire Department Capt. Mike Wade said.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy flame along the front and one side of building, extending to the roof line and to the rear of the building.

Wade said a strong external attack commenced and the flames were knocked down, but not without some difficulty. Firefighters worked in below freezing temperatures and were hampered by a strong south wind off Skaha Lake that helped to fan the flames.

Firefighters from Penticton and Summerland responded to a blaze at Clarence House, located at 217 Elm Avenue in Penticton earlier today, Oct. 27, 2020.
Firefighters from Penticton and Summerland responded to a blaze at Clarence House, located at 217 Elm Avenue in Penticton earlier today, Oct. 27, 2020.

Wade said the building, all wood construction, had a firewall running along the building’s centre that held up and prevented the flames from reaching the east side of the structure.

Firefighters were able to enter the building to fight the blaze and conduct an initial search.

By 8 a.m., the fire department was in mop-up mode, waiting for an engineer's assessment of the building before firefighters could re-enter the building.

A Penticton firefighter climbs an aerial ladder to assess the top floor of Clarence House on Elm Avenue.
A Penticton firefighter climbs an aerial ladder to assess the top floor of Clarence House on Elm Avenue.

So far, no injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

George Barker, maintenance manager of the Waterfront Inn next door, said he got a knock on the door around 4 a.m. and could see the top floor of the building in flames. 

"It was unbelievable, it went up in 20 minutes," he said.

RCMP evacuated the building as well as three nearby hotels, while the City of Penticton brought in buses to hold everyone in the cold of the morning.

Barker said he could hear a cry for help on the second floor of the building before he saw firefighters rescue the person with a ladder. 

Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Ashley Lyn Berney

— This story was updated at 9:13 a.m. Oct. 27, 2020 with information from the Penticton Fire Department. 


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