A fire caused damage to the Capri Gardens on 35th Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

A fire caused damage to the Capri Gardens on 35th Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Apartment fire displaces residents

Cause of Sunday fire at Capri Gardens remains under investigation

It’s still unknown what caused a fire that forced tenants to flee a Vernon apartment building.

Fire broke out in a second floor unit at Capri Gardens, in the 3300 block of 35th Avenue, at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

“We have a pretty good theory of the cause but we need to look at it further. It’s still under investigation,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief.

Seventy-five tenants were sent to a hotel because of smoke-related health concerns, but many of them got the nod to move back into Capri Gardens Monday afternoon.

“We want to get people in and back to some form of normalcy as soon as possible within safe parameters,” said Brent Watson, with Emergency Social Services.

Tenants and relatives were dropping by Monday morning to pick up personal items and find out when they could return.

“It’s been a little stressful but he’s fine,” said Mark Olsen of his father-in-law who lives in the building.

No one was injured during the evacuation but anxiety was high as tenants watched the fire grow.

“A window blew out and flames just shot out,” said one woman.

Vernon firefighters were on scene within minutes of receiving the first call.

“The crew gained entry and gave an interior attack and knocked it down,” said Jack Blair, deputy fire chief.

“The apartment where the fire started is pretty much gutted out.”

Two apartments on the next floor also sustained some damage.

It’s not known when the occupants of the three units will be allowed to return home.

There have been some media reports of looting during the Capri Gardens blaze but the RCMP have received no formal complaints.

But Gord Molendyk, RCMP spokesperson, says one individual was arrested at the scene a few hours after the fire was extinguished.

“He was hanging around and in the building but not in possession of stolen items,” said Molendyk.

The individual was found to be in breach of probation and drugs were found on his possession.

The Easter long weekend turned out to be a busy time for the Vernon Fire Department.

Firefighters were also called to a shed fire in the 6100 block of Scott Road at about 3 a.m. Monday.

“It’s accidental. It started in a greenhouse area,” said Skolrood, adding that the investigation continues.

 

“There is a small heater and some other things we’re still looking at.”