More than 80 people evacuated after fire at Vernon homeless shelter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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More than 80 people evacuated after fire at Vernon homeless shelter

Vernon Fire Department
October 19, 2020 - 1:56 PM

Over 80 homeless people have been displaced after a suspected electrical fire caused damage to a Vernon emergency shelter yesterday.

Staff and clients at the 37 Street shelter were evacuated shortly after 5:15 p.m. yesterday, Oct. 18.

The fire, which is still under investigation, is thought to have broken out away from the clients' quarters near the administrative and staff offices, according to a release from the Turning Points Collaborative Society.

The society says there were no reports of injuries and all staff members and clients were removed safely.

The society confirmed in a second statement to the media that it has found alternative accommodation for all its clients. Some clients have been relocated to vacant hotel and motel rooms. The City of Vernon has also allowed the City-owned Creekside Conference Centre to be used as a temporary emergency shelter.

Firefighters found a small fire in the office portion of the building and extinguished it quickly.

"The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it does not appear to be suspicious,” Vernon Fire Rescue deputy chief Scott Hemstad said in a media release. "Thanks to the quick action of the staff on site and the responding firefighters, damage to the building was contained to the interior and was minimized. The facility will remain inaccessible for a period of time."

The society says there is no clear indication of how long the Emergency Response Centre will be closed, although it is optimistic the centre will reopen soon.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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