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Fire debris mound still there 6 months later at former Penticton heritage house

City gives the owners an extension but will move in soon if they don’t clean it up
The owners of the former Warren House at 434 Lakeshore Drive asked for an extension into the fall to clean up the fire debris that was left behind after a gas explosion in March. (City of Penticton photo taken in May 2022)

It’s been over six months since a gas explosion levelled the 110-year-old Warren House on Lakeshore Drive in Penticton.

Within minutes the two-storey home was fully engulfed in flames with the top floor collapsing to the ground in less than 15 minutes on March 7.

But since that awful day, the large mound of fire debris remains an eyesore in the eyes of the neighbours who petitioned the city in May to have it removed, saying it poses a health hazard and is unsightly.

The city originally gave the home owners a July 11 deadline to remove all the fire debris and burned trees, notifying the owners of 434 Lakeshore Drive that the city will hire its own contractors to clean up the site and add those costs to the property’s taxes.

The owners, the Ruutels, argued that it’s not possible to get an excavation contractor by that July deadline. The city agreed to expedite the Ruutels’ demolition permit, but the owners said it could still take two to four weeks to get done, asking the city to extend the deadline to Sept. 26.

The owners of Warren House were given a final one month extension as they worked with their insurance company, said Shane Mills, city communications manager.

“That is set to expire shortly and the City is ready to begin clean-up if they don’t,” he added.

The Ruutels were waiting on their insurance company Intact to respond. They later told the city in a letter that communication attempts with the company had failed and they were going to file a lawsuit against it.

However, in the Ruutels’ more recent correspondence with the city, they heard back from Intact on June 23, and that it will be the one in charge of clearing the site. Intact has requested a quote from ABK Restoration, according to the Ruutels.

READ MORE: Owners of Penticton heritage home ask for extension to clean up fire debris

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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