Fire in Oliver being treated as suspicious

A fire in 13-unit apartment complex in Oliver is being treated by RCMP and the fire department as suspicious.

A fire in a 13-unit apartment complex in Oliver is being treated by RCMP and the fire department as suspicious.

Sgt. Ken Harrington said members of the Oliver fire department and RCMP responded to a report of a structure fire located at 6061 Kootenay Ave. on Monday at 11:18 p.m.

“On arrival, a significant portion of the south side of the building was fully engulfed. The Oliver Fire Department conducted successful fire suppression over five hours in order to contain the blaze. All residents of the building are accounted for at this point,” said Harrington.

According to RCMP, the apartment as well as the two adjacent buildings were evacuated, displacing 35 residents. Some of those suffered the effects of smoke inhalation, but no significant injuries were reported. Oliver volunteer firefighter and media liaison Spencer Tribbick said he was one of the first trucks on the scene that did a primary search for people inside and worked on setting up an attack line.

“It was hot. The second floor corner had fire coming out of the windows and out of the eaves,” he said.

Tribbick said the fire was mainly concentrated in two suites in the southeast corner which received the most damage. He said it is believed the fire may have started in a shed on a patio below one of the suites. No firefighters were injured in the blaze, but Tribbick noted a close call.

“A firefighter was walking on the patio in the very southeast corner of the building, just off the suite that was mostly involved. He stepped on some compromised floor and dropped through but managed to catch himself with his arms. He was taken to hospital but I saw him before he left and he was walking around on his own power, cognizant and talking. I think he had some bruising on his shoulders, so minor injuries,” said Tribbick.

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Social Services and Oliver Victim Services are working to provide assistance to those that have been effected.

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said the individuals displaced from their homes have started to receive assistance from emergency services, the Kiwanis Club is helping by donating senior housing and assisted living units that were empty and by friends and family.

“It’s devastating for the Town of Oliver to have yet another fire, but if there is any good news out of the story it is the fact they all made it out safely,” said Hovanes. “From what I am hearing from everyone is that the fire department did an incredible job of containing the fire to just a third of the building because it was a pretty big fire.”

Some residents of the apartment complex were returning to their homes as of Tuesday evening, said Dale Kronebusch, RDOS emergency services supervisor. He said they registered 11 individuals into group lodging on Monday and had 14 residents that went to other areas of the community. Kronebusch commended the Oliver Alliance Church for supporting those displaced by lodging them Monday night in the church.

“Some are getting back home today (Tuesday). There are still some that will be put up in hotel for possibly a few nights. The property manager is looking into trying to find accommodations and places to put them,” said Kronebusch.

Harrington said a provincial fire commission investigator and Penticton forensic identification section were on scene Tuesday to conduct an investigation.

“As with all fires of this nature, this event will be treated as suspicious until proven otherwise,” said Harrington.

The property owners, from North Kelowna, have been advised, and according to RCMP, have attended the scene and confirmed that the building is insured.

 

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read