Early morning apartment fire in Penticton, B.C., leaves two people dead

PENTICTON, B.C. — The Mounties say two people have died in an early morning fire Tuesday that partially destroyed a 30-unit apartment building in Penticton, B.C.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Jason Bayda says the bodies were found after a structural engineer deemed it safe for emergency personnel to enter the ruined building and begin a search.

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Penticton fire Chief Larry Watkinson says early indications suggest the fire started on the building exterior and travelled up to the roof, although he cautioned the investigation is still in its infancy and has been turned over to the police due to the two deaths.

He says the wood-framed building was built in 1981 and didn’t have a sprinkler system, but noted that such interior protection wouldn’t have knocked down the fire as it spread along the outside.

Evacuees from the apartment building and nearby motels were loaded onto city transit buses to keep them warm while firefighters did their work.

Mayor John Vassilaki expressed condolences to the families and neighbours who lost loved ones and friends in the fire.

(Penticton Herald, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2020.

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