Update, Thursday, Feb. 25
Vernon RCMP say a fire at a cannabis grow operation near Enderby is not considered suspicious.
RCMP spokesperson Cst. Chris Terleski said at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, police received request at to assist fire services at a structure fire on Barney Road. Once the fire was extinguished, it was determined the location as being used to produce cannabis.
Terleski said no criminality is suspected in the cause of the fire, and the incident remains under investigation at this time.
A North Okanagan-Shuswap structure fire is being investigated by police.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 21, Ranchero-Deep Creek firefighters responded to a report of a structure fire at a property off of Deep Creek Road. Upon arrival, they found not one, but two structures ablaze – a timber-framed building and a concrete building.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Fire Services Co-ordinator Sean Coubrough said the buildings appeared to have been used for a cannabis grow operation, and that the RCMP is investigating.
“There has been some difficulty in ascertaining the ownership of the property and the RCMP are working on the file at this time,” said Coubrough.
The fire department found no one on the property, which Coubrough said included a residence.
“We were fairly confident there weren’t any people around at the time but we weren’t able to really go in and do a thorough investigation because of the safety concerns of getting in there,” said Coubrough.
There were three fires within over the past week, including a barn fire in Malakwa on Feb. 19 and a residential blaze on Falkland on Feb. 17.
Coubrough said the Falkland fire was a result of hot embers from a cleaned wood stove being left to close to the residence, and other combustible items, to cool. Only an exterior wall, part of an enclosed patio, was lost in the fire, while the home itself received some smoke damage.
“We do see this happening quite often,” said Coubrough, regarding the disposal of embers. “When you clean out your wood stove, let them cool down in an area away from combustibles before disposing of them any further. And be aware the hot coals can still be hot for many days after you clean them out of your wood stove.”