A husband and wife are devastated after their West Kelowna home caught on fire on Thursday morning (Feb. 23).
Just before 11:30 a.m., West Kelowna Fire Rescue responded to a call for a blaze at 915 Ogden Road. In total, more than 20 firefighters attended the scene.
Billowing black smoke filled the sky as crews arrived at the home to find a garage fully engulfed in flames, which was spreading to the master bedroom. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than four hours as flames extended to different parts of the house.
Fortunately, homeowner Kerry Rivard and his wife escaped unharmed and there were no animals in the house. Despite no one being hurt, an ambulance was on site to help fire crews between shifts.
“Everything we own is in that house,” said an emotional Rivard.
He also noted there was a brand new Corvette in the garage as well as his wife’s car. His truck was close to the blaze and had some burn damage to the back before Rivard drove it down the road to safety.
BC Hydro and FortisBC also attended the scene and cut the power to the house.
Temperatures dipped below -6C during the action making fighting the fire difficult for crews.
“This is challenging for us for a number of reasons,” said West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund. “The construction of the building has been added on to and renovated so we’re chasing the fire in a number of places.”
Brolund also added that the wind caused the fire to spread to different parts of the house and as crews sprayed water, it began to freeze on parts of the home still intact.
Rivard stated to multiple reporters that a faulty battery charger for his trailer is what he believed most likely started the blaze. The trailer was in the driveway but was in very close proximity to the garage.
“The garage, the trailer, the battery charger was on fire and that’s the effect,” Rivard said as he pointed at the house fire.
Fire crews have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.
“We’ll be looking at all angles. Being a garage, there are many sources of heat and ignition that could be present and we’ll do our best to try to narrow that down,” said Brolund.
Fire crews were finally able to extinguish the flames after more than four hours on scene. However, firefighters stayed on site for several more hours in case hot spots ignited.
The house was built in 1973 but had been renovated since.