A Penticton Indian Band firefighter going through some of the rubble left over from an early morning fire that occurred at the Delta Mobile Home Park.                                 Kristi Patton/Western News

A Penticton Indian Band firefighter going through some of the rubble left over from an early morning fire that occurred at the Delta Mobile Home Park. Kristi Patton/Western News

Family left with questions after Penticton woman dies in fire

A 65-year-old Penticton woman died in Delta Mobile Home Park fire

Millicent Forrest starts to choke up when she thinks about the last time she spoke with her sister, Christine Giles.

“It was a Sunday that she sent me an email and I was going to call her Thursday (Nov. 22), but I was so tired. I said I would call her the following day, of course, that was too late.”

It was early morning on Nov. 23, the same day Forrest was going to call her sister, that a fire occurred at Giles’ residence within the Delta Mobile Home Park, tragically killing her and her two beloved dogs.

Christine Giles was found dead in her residence at the Delta Mobile Home Park, which was destroyed in a fire on Nov. 23.
Submitted photo

“I just never could expect this in a million years,” said Forrest, who hopped on the first flight from her home in New Brunswick to Penticton, once she heard her sister had died.

Related: One person confirmed dead in mobile home park fire

John Yardley, who resides across the street from where the fire took place, said he was stirred awake by the sound of sirens.

“I had no idea it was going until I heard the sirens. I opened my door and could feel the heat right away and I could see 100-foot flames shooting from the fire.”

RCMP confirmed that one adult individual was found deceased inside the trailer. Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said RCMP were requested to assist the Penticton Indian Band Volunteer Fire Department at approximately 5 a.m. on Nov. 16. Upon arrival, he said, they found the mobile home fully engulfed. While firefighters tried to gain access to get control of the fire, they found an adult individual deceased inside. Moskaluk said foul play is not suspected and the RCMP are assisting the BC Coroner Service with their investigation.

Related: Up to 40 people handed eviction notices in Penticton mobile home community

When given an eviction notice, along with all the other residents in October, Giles had nowhere to go. The 65-year-old, who Forrest said didn’t have good health, remained in the park despite her power being cutoff as of Monday.

“She likes being on her own. She was offered to join me in New Brunswick but she hated the winters and didn’t want to do that. She just loved her little place, with her garden and her two dogs. The problem is there was nowhere else to go. She didn’t have a lot of money and when they gave that eviction notice, the vacancy rate was 0.5 per cent,” said Forrest.

From conversations with her sister, she found out a lot of the residents in the park were in the same situation — leaving a few of them in the park, being told they could stay for a few months longer after their eviction.

Yardley also believes there was a a few people still living in the mobile home park. He also heard that the power was cut off earlier in the week.

Related: Time to relocate is running out for mobile home residents

Forrest said from the initial investigations it is a possibility that her sister had her oven going to keep warm, however she is waiting for the coroner report and fire investigation to conclude.

“It’s tough. Right now, I have to accept what they are telling me. There is nothing else I can do — I do not have any peace otherwise,” said Forrest.

Not wanting her sister to die in vain, Forrest said she wants to bring awareness that those living in mobile home parks on First Nation land do not have the same rights as those living in a municipality.

Related: Mobile home tenant rules offer more compensation

“It is the only thing I can do right now to ensure something is learned from this. I don’t think the general public, not just here but in all of Canada, realizes people in this situation do not have many rights — at least not the same as a municipality,” she said. “I want to get this to be common knowledge that people are taking a risk and I may even take this to my MP.”

Forrest said she is holding on to the memory that Giles loved her two dogs and puttering around her garden in the mobile home park she lived at for over 10 years.

“She was an amazing artist, creating what they call reverse painting on glass. It was pretty amazing. She also had a great sense of humour. I love the fact that I have so many emails from her. Emails where she always had some crazy story. I told her she should write a book because she was funny as hell.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read