Mystery fire at abandoned home

Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked a suspicious fire Monday night at a derelict home in downtown Penticton.

Inspector Mike Richards of Penticton Fire Rescue looks over a section of property on Ellis Street Tuesday morning where fire damaged the house the night before. An RCMP investigator was also scheduled to attend the scene at some point. The cause was not available.

Inspector Mike Richards of Penticton Fire Rescue looks over a section of property on Ellis Street Tuesday morning where fire damaged the house the night before. An RCMP investigator was also scheduled to attend the scene at some point. The cause was not available.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what sparked a suspicious fire Monday night at a derelict home in downtown Penticton.

The blaze inside the house at the corner of Ellis Street and East White Avenue was reported at 11:26 p.m. and appeared to start in the basement, where it caused “considerable damage,” according to Chief Wayne Williams of the Penticton Fire Department.

He said an investigator found a gas can in the basement, but no apparent ignition source, since power to the home was cut off in August and the building was supposed to be vacant. Williams said all entrances to the home were secured, save for one window that was broken some time ago, and it’s unlikely someone would have been able to set the fire and escape unharmed.

“It’s a bit of mystery, that’s for sure,” he said.

“With no electricity in the home, the home being vacant and no one being in it for a long time, the cause is still undetermined, but it is considered suspicious.”

Williams said he’s been told the property owner had recently begun renovating the home in order to rent it out after deciding not to follow through on plans to redevelop the site.

An online real estate advertisement for the property indicates it was at some point slated to be redeveloped into condominiums ranging in price from $189,000 to $299,000.