Update: 3:50 p.m.
A construction worker near an RV that burst into flames early Monday afternoon says he made early attempts to put the blaze out with fire extinguishers to no avail.
Cody Trahan said he was doing torch-on roofing nearby, when he “got a nose for fire.”
“I asked my partner if he smelled fire, and we thought maybe it was just from the fire in Kelowna,” Trahan said. “So, we started walking towards, and then we saw the plume of smoke, and then we were like, ‘holy moly.’”
A dark black plume of smoke, visible across the city, was coming from an alley on the north side of Hastings Ave. Trahan said he saw some people running, saying they didn’t have a fire extinguisher, but Trahan had four of them on his worksite.
“So, we grabbed the truck and then we ripped over here and we were able to get three extinguishers in the window,” Trahan said. “Then there were some workers, some other guys by that had a water hose and everybody said it was too hot, or whatever, but I’m used to the heat, working with fire all day.
“So I held the hose on the tree there, as it started to go up, until they kicked us out of there.”
Trahan said he saw a nearby bush catching fire, and though he heard that the house was affected, acting fire captain Wes Swaren said fire crews were able to knock the fire down before the house caught.
Swaren noted that there were reports of an explosion and fire showing, though nobody who spoke to the Western News reported hearing an explosion.
However, the fire did spread from the RV to a camper van about a foot away.
“We did an aggressive quick knock down on the fire,” Swaren said, noting the fire is under investigation.
“It was a quickly moving fire, but crews on scene were probably within the first two, three minutes able to knock it down, and over the next 15 able to kind of mop it up.”
Swaren noted that older campers like the one that caught fire can go up in flames very quickly because of the materials inside.
“They have a lot of wood panelling in them, a lot of exposed rug and carpet, and no fire protection so to speak,” he said. “It’s exposed and old and dry and unprotected.”
Emergency crews are responding to a fire involving an RV on Hastings Avenue.
The call came in that there was an explosion with visible smoke just after 1 p.m.
Smoke was visible from several blocks away.
An onlooker told the Western that a few trees also caught fire and that fire extinguishers were used to knock down the flames before firefighters arrived.
None of the onlookers that the Western spoke with said they heard an explosion.
The public should avoid the area as emergency crews work to put out the fire.
The Penticton Western News will update with more information as it becomes available.