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'There is nothing available': Vernon residents struggle to find housing after devastating fire

With the help of passersby, Mike Mortenson and his roommate managed to get some of their possessions out of the burning home.
Image Credit: Contributed
January 13, 2017 - 10:30 AM

VERNON - Finding a new place to live is proving difficult for three people forced out of their home yesterday by a chimney fire.

Resident Mike Mortenson says he and his two roommates are still pretty shaken up after a fire broke out around 7 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the house they rent on Old Kamloops Road. The home was destroyed, leaving them scrambling to find a new place to rent.

Mortenson, who moved to Vernon last August, says finding a new home is not going to be easy.

“There is nothing available,” he says.

A truck driver, Mortenson is looking for a house to rent within the $2,000 a month range, on an acreage with room to park his semi.

Emergency Social Services is putting Mortenson and his roommates up in a local hotel for three nights — after that they are on their own.

Mortenson wasted no time looking for a new place to rent — within hours of the fire he had posted an ad online asking for leads on a rental. But so far, he hasn’t found anything.

“It will probably be a lot of hotels for now,” he says.

Mortenson had just gotten home from work on Thursday and was watching T.V. when the chimney fire started. He woke up his roommate and they frantically grabbed what they could from the home.

“Four people stopped to help. It’s because of them that we saved what we did,” Mortenson says.

While much was saved, a number of appliances, electronics, and an aquarium full of fish were lost to the fire.

“The fire department was great. They tried to salvage what they could,” Mortenson says.

Since posting his situation online, Mortenson says he’s received a lot of well-wishes and support from the community.

“It’s a big comfort for sure,” he says. “It means a lot.”

UPDATE: JAN. 16, 2017 

Mortenson says he has bought a fifth wheel and no longer needs a rental. His roommates, on the other hand, are still looking. They are seeking a one, or two bedroom, pet-friendly rental. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston 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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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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