Jarrett Veenendaal

Jarrett Veenendaal

Fire cause rests with remains

The cause of a devastating apartment building fire will never be known.

Vernon Fire Department officials were informed Monday by the insurance company and an engineer that further access to Skyline Manor is not possible because of structural integrity.

“We won’t be able to get into the building at any point,” said Lawrie Skolrood, deputy fire chief, of accessing the possible point of origin of the Feb. 25 blaze on 31A Street.

As a result, the cause will be put down as undetermined.

“The investigation is now closed,” said Skolrood.

Investigators were on scene last week but there was only limited access to the interior and debris could not be moved around. The investigation was primarily limited to taking photographs of the scene, but they don’t reveal much.

“There’s not much there. They are quite a ways away and we can’t get into the rubble,” said Skolrood.

“We have a lot of ideas (about how it may have started) but we can’t verify them.”

It’s unknown if there will be an opportunity for the 52 former tenants to recover personal items.

Any access to the building will be determined by the insurance company and the property owner.

On Saturday, the Salvation Army sold off items that had been donated by the public to the fire victims but were not needed to re-establish new residences.

“During the five-hour sale we raised $3,000 to continue in aiding our response to the Skyline apartment fire,” said David MacBain, Salvation Army community ministries director.

“We are very excited about the public’s response to the sale, and we are confident they left with some great treasures.”

Donations had been collected at the old Cooper’s building in the Midtown Mall on 43rd Avenue. Former Skyline tenants were able to visit the site and select items they needed.

“Between our employees and volunteers an additional 100 hours Saturday were put toward helping those evacuated from the Skyline apartment building for a total of 800 hours by 55 individuals.  We are very appreciative to all,” said MacBain. “I would also like to thank the Cristall Group, the Midtown Mall owners.”