Authorities will determine if the Skyline Manor on 31A Street can be accessed after a Feb. 25 blaze.

Authorities will determine if the Skyline Manor on 31A Street can be accessed after a Feb. 25 blaze.

Engineer reviews integrity of apartment

The stability of a Vernon apartment ravaged by fire is still in doubt.

A structural engineer and a restoration company are bringing in equipment to determine the integrity of the Skyline Manor, which was destroyed Feb. 25.

“They will conduct a detailed analysis of the building,” said Brent Watson, emergency program co-ordinator.

The decision to proceed with an analysis was made Wednesday during a meeting of the RCMP, the fire department, insurance adjusters, the restoration company, the property owner, a structural engineer and staff with the fire commissioner’s office.

Crews have been unable to get into the 31A Street building to determine the cause of the fire because of concerns the building may collapse, particularly because of the weight of recent snow and ice.

“Everyone wants to get in and investigate,” said Watson.

“It’s not just about the investigation and insurance, though. We want to see if we can salvage some of the tenants’ personal items.”

The analysis will be done using aerial ladders, and no one will physically go into the building at this time.

“Safety is absolutely the predominant concern for us,” said Watson.

“We’re not going to guess even if it looks stable.”

Accessing the equipment needed for the analysis could be a challenge, and the earliest it could arrive on scene is today or this weekend.

After the analysis is complete, a decision will be made on the next steps regarding the investigation and any possibility of salvaging items in the building.

A pet was rescued from the second floor of the structure Tuesday.

Live traps had been set up in the hopes of locating some of the cats that lived in the apartment.

“Our guys were able to use a pole to hook on to the trap and return the cat to its owner,” said Watson.

The Salvation Army continues to distribute household items to the fire victims at the former Coopers building on 43rd Avenue.

Evacuees are asked to visit the distribution centre by today to select household items.

Cash donations for the fire victims can be made at the Salvation Army at 3303 32nd Ave. or by going to www.vernonbcfoodbank.com.

Donations can also be made at the Red Cross office, 2809 44th Ave., or at Valley First, VantageOne and Interior Savings credit unions.