Kamloops apartment fire leaves residents out in the cold | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops apartment fire leaves residents out in the cold

Last night's blaze completely burned this third floor suite.
January 19, 2021 - 4:46 PM

A fire broke out at an apartment building on the North Shore in Kamloops last night damaging much of the third floor and displacing the residents.

Kenn Hartt with Kamloops Fire Rescue says emergency crews were called to the Cherry Avenue apartments just before midnight, Jan. 18, and within about an hour the blaze was largely diminished. Crews then remained on the scene until 5 a.m. to ensure there were no small fires or smouldering that lingered.

Three separate suites on the third floor were affected by fire and smoke damage, says Hartt, and one completely burned. While smoke and smells from burnt household materials still linger, it's too soon to tell just how badly the building was damaged.

While the older North Shore apartment building lacks a sprinkler system, Hartt says it's possible the older materials aided in slowing the spread of the fire. 

"It's not just the smoke," said Gilles Ladouceur, the building manager. "But the smell is putrid." 

Ladouceur works for Rockwood Homes which owns the building. He drove from Kelowna this morning right away to check on the building. He said the tenant community is about a hundred people, a mix of students, single parents and retirees.

"The emergency crews were fast and efficient. We've been very happy with their response."

Some residents that were forced to evacuate were outside on the winter night in flip flops, shorts and pajamas, according to security that was deployed by the city.

Employees with Lapper Security said that some residents did return this morning to retrieve essential belongings like medication and clothing, but Kamloops Fire Rescue has denied entry to the building.

"One tenant did get into the building to retrieve their medication," said the security guards, which they then reported to the fire department.

For now, residents of the Cherry Avenue apartments are being housed by Emergency Support Services.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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