Update: Fire on Fairview

A fire broke out at the Kirkland apartments on Fairview Road Thursday evening.

Fire engulfed a top floor suite at the Kirkland Apartment building on Fairview Avenue in Penticton on the evening of No. 20.

Fire engulfed a top floor suite at the Kirkland Apartment building on Fairview Avenue in Penticton on the evening of No. 20.

Most of the residents at Kirkland apartments have returned to their homes after a fire engulfed a fourth-floor apartment Thursday evening.

It is unclear at this time how the fire was started.

“We have investigators who went out to the scene this morning to start their investigation,” said Fire Chief Wayne Williams.

The resident of the apartment where the fire started was rushed away in an ambulance Thursday evening, however, no injuries were sustained Williams said.

“I think she was just more shaken up than anything. Didn’t look like she had any physical injuries,” Williams said.

The call went out Thursday evening to all available responders in the area. The exact number of emergency workers on the scene has yet to be finalized, but Williams said there was a “good number” of staff on site.

Emergency responders were quick to jump on the fire, having it contained within an hour. Residents were reentering their suites approximately four hours later.

The quick action was helped by a small stroke of luck for the fire department.

“Two of our recruits who were training on day shift yesterday were able to respond with the crew which gave us the ability to get a couple extra hose lines out than we wouldn’t have normally.” Williams said. “I believe because of the extra staffing that we had yesterday that we were able to get a good hold on the fire really quick.”

Residents of five apartments in the building were unable to return to their residences Thursday night. The apartment where the blaze started was extensively damaged. The other four apartments saw minimal water and smoke damage, which should be cleared up quickly.

“Were hoping they will be able to get back in to the units tonight,” Williams said.

Residents and onlookers stood outside the Kirkland Apartment building on 803 Fairview Rd. on Thursday evening as flames jumped from the balcony of an apartment to the roof of the building.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 5 p.m. where multiple police cars and first responders blocked off the street to the public.

Residents were promptly evacuated from the building and stood watching across the street on the chilly night. It was an unusual time of the day for an alarm to go off, said resident Marsha O’Donnel.

“The fire alarm started going off. I was making my supper and sitting watching my soaps and all of a sudden the alarm went off. At this time of night when the alarm goes off you tend to pay attention, so I’m glad we did,” O’Donnel said.

Fire crews managed to extinguish the flames within an hour.

“We are not sure if it started inside the suite and spread to the balcony, or started on the balcony and spread to the inside,” said Williams.

“We will be talking with the resident of the building where it is believed the fire started. We had an investigator here very early on in the fire so he has been talking to a bunch of people, but we will be talking to more people tomorrow.”

Williams said he is hoping to get as many residents, most of whom are seniors, back into their apartments that evening.

“Those who can’t, we will be going in to get any medication or anything that they need and they will be put up in a hotel,” said Williams.