Firefighters battle heat, snow and cold in fatal South Okanagan blaze - InfoNews

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Firefighters battle heat, snow and cold in fatal South Okanagan blaze

An occupant of this home in Peach Cliff Mobile Home Park in Okanagan Falls fell victim to a fire in the residence yesterday, Jan.11, 2018.
January 12, 2018 - 11:20 AM

OKANAGAN FALLS - Firefighters spent several hours battling a modular home fire in Okanagan Falls yesterday afternoon that claimed the life of local man.

Okanagan Falls fire chief Rob Oliver says crews spent about six hours fighting the fire at the Peach Cliff Mobile Home Park yesterday afternoon, Jan. 11.

Oliver says the mobile home was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived and the intense heat meant firefighters could only mount an external attack.

After the flames had been knocked back, firefighters entered the building and discovered a body near the door.

“We couldn’t do anything for him,” Oliver says. "The ambulance guys said the victim had been down a long time.”

Two other occupants of the home were not at home at the time.

It was a nasty fire because it got into the ceiling and roof where it proved hard to extinguish, he says, plus crews were not only battling the blaze, but cold temperatures and heavy snow.

“The guys were all covered in ice,” he says.

Firefighters from Kaleden also responded to the fire.

The initial investigation into the origin suggests a barbecue on the porch might have been the cause.

Neighbour Jenni Matthew says fire crews were forced to enter the mobile home park through the back entrance because snow hadn't been cleared from the roads. 

Another neighbour, Darlene Gardiner, called the fire a tragedy.

"There was a lot of excitement, but not the kind of excitement I want," she says.

Members of the Penticton RCMP and B.C. Coroners Office also attended the scene.

— This story was updated at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 to include comments from neighbour Jenni Matthew, and again at 3:20 to correct information provided.

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