Penticton Fire Department members standing at where a house fire started on last week that completely destroyed one residence and jumped to the neighbours house. (Mark Brett/Western News)

‘Unlikely’ 92-year-old escaped before fire: family

Police still working on the case of Mary Esta, who hasn’t been found since a fire gutted her home

The Penticton RCMP detachment says it’s still investigating the case of missing 92-year-old Mary Ruth Esta, believed to have perished in a house fire last week.

Esta’s remains still haven’t been uncovered, despite multiple searches of the debris in her house, which was fully engulfed in flames the night of Oct. 11.

Related: ‘Emotional roller coaster’ for missing woman’s family

Esta’s granddaughter Lisa Batstone told the Western News late last week the family was on an “emotional roller coaster” after hearing word that an initial search had not turned up the elderly woman’s remains.

“Due to her age and medical condition, it is unlikely that she could have got out, and we understand that it may be unlikely that she is ever located,” said Esta’s stepson Rick Gammer in an RCMP release Wednesday afternoon.

“Our family is very appreciative of the efforts of all first responders and realize what a difficult job it is for them.”

Related: Search fails to turn up missing woman from fire scene

When emergency crews responded to the massive blaze in the early evening, the fire had already spread to a second home, which was also destroyed.

Engulfed in a massive fire ball, fuelled by debris in and around the house, over the course of the evening, Esta’s house collapsed.

RCMP say they have no reason to suspect foul play or criminality at this time.

Related: 92-year-old woman still unaccounted for

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