Officials identify victim of mobile-home fire in Penticton

Fire department still unsure what sparked blaze that killed 81-year-old woman

  • Tue Nov 19th, 2013 7:00pm
  • News

It appears Thursday’s fire that claimed the life of 81-year-old Julianna Dorothy Dolores Bergum was accidental.

According to chief Wayne Williams of the Penticton Fire Department, investigators believe they know where the blaze started, however the cause remains undetermined.

“They’ve finished their investigation and it appears the area of origin is either of two little rooms at the back on one side which were right next to the bedroom where I believe she was found,” said Williams this week.

“Because the fire was in those two rooms she didn’t have a way out down the hallway.”

He added that due to the severe damage from the fire there is no way to tell in which of the rooms it began.

The chief added two possible ignition sources may have been an item placed too close to a space heater or smoking materials.

The woman was home alone in Unit 18 at Figueira’s Mobile Home Park off Yorkton Avenue when the fire broke out about 2:30 p.m.

Neighbours called in the alarm and the deceased’s husband arrived shortly afterwards.

At one point black and white smoke billowed from the structure and neighbours say the flames could be seen shooting several metres into the sky.

Firefighters were quickly able to gain access once the worst of the fire was out, however Bergum had already died by the time they located her.

Williams added the fatality was especially unfortunate because crews were able to gain control quickly.

“We were very lucky it went the way it did,” he said.

“I’m surprised there wasn’t a lot more damage because usually a mobile home is normally going to be a write off if you do not catch it early.”