The majority of victims of a Boxing Day blaze are expected to be back home Thursday.
Crews have been working to ensure a six-unit complex on 30th Avenue is safe to return to after a fire broke out in one of the units Monday.
One individual was found laying in the doorway, unconscious, but breathing, and was pulled to safety. Meanwhile approximately nine other tenants in the building, including two children, were forced from their homes.
They were put up in a local hotel for three days, but now they are on their own as they wait to be let back in.
Initially it was believed the fire may have been electrical in nature, therefore extra precaution is being taken to check the electrical before letting residents back in.
“It’s not looking that way but we really have to chase that down and make sure it’s safe in there,” said Vernon Fire Rescue Services interim chief David Lind.
The unit of origin remains under investigation and has sustained too much damage to return to. The insurance company is also bringing in a private fire investigator.
“It’ll probably take us a bit to determine what happened there,” said VFRS investigator Dean Wakefield, adding that a cause may never surface.
“It could go down as undetermined.”
There is concern that the units may not have had properly working smoke detectors.
“We know that no one heard an active smoke alarm. And that’s not OK,” said Lind.
While there is too much debris to confirm if there was a smoke alarm in the unit where the fire originated, Lind confirms that there were detectors in the other units. They just may not have been in proper order.
“They’re battery operated units and unfortunately what happens is sometimes batteries die or people pull them out,” said Lind.
Therefore, before VFRS turns the building back over, each of the units will have working smoke detectors installed.
UPDATE: The cause of a Boxing Day fire remains under investigation. Meanwhile the victim of the fire has since been released from hospital.
Firefighters were called to a six-unit complex on 30th Avenue Monday evening after smoke was seen coming from one of the main-floor units. An individual was found laying in the doorway and was pulled to safety.
All other tenants in the building were unharmed.
Fire investigator Dean Wakefield sifted through the debris Tuesday and is working to try and determine a cause.
“It’ll probably take us a bit to determine what happened there,” said Wakefield, adding that a cause may never surface.
“It could go down as undetermined.”
One resident was taken to hospital and nine others have been forced from their Vernon home following a fire Monday.
Firefighters were called to a six-unit complex in the 3700 block of 30th Avenue at 5:18 p.m. Monday.
“Smoke was showing from one of the doors on the main floor,” said Colin Clarke, a captain with the Vernon Fire Department.
The firefighters also found an individual laying in the doorway.
“They were breathing with a strong pulse,” said Clarke.
The individual, who has lived there since early spring, was taken to hospital.
Fire investigator Dean Wakefield could not say how the individual is doing, but said it was a successful rescue.
“I believe it was bystanders and firefighters that pulled them out,” said Wakefield.
While the damage is believed to be contained to the initial unit, the other tenants (including some children) are left wondering when they can return home.
“They put us up for three days but we don’t know what’s going on after that,” said one tenant, trying to stay warm in his truck Tuesday while waiting for restoration to let him in to check on his animals.
The tenant, who did not want to be identified, didn’t hear or smell anything when the fire was sparked.
And it is also being questioned if the units had smoke alarms, as his did not, and no one heard the sound of a smoke alarm coming from the unit where the fire started.
Meanwhile, the landlord says the units did have smoke alarms but tenants may have removed them.
“I think they all did. But they’ve lived here a long time and lots of people take them down because they go off when they are making toast and stuff.”
The investigation is ongoing into the cause of the fire.
“There’s nothing jumping out at me,” said Wakefield, sifting through the debris littering the inside of the unit plus the burned mattress and other items that were tossed outside.
“With this one too, we may never know.”
Either way, the event is unfortunate, especially at this time of year, said Wakefield.
Along with the need for a smoke alarm, the incident has reminded one tenant of the need for content insurance.
“I actually had just got a job and was thinking I should get content insurance,” they said.