UPDATE: Fire victims find homes

Thursday chimney fire on Old Kamloops Road, leaves residents homeless, but community helps find accommodations

BX Swan Lake Fire Department and the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department attend a chimney fire that spread into the roofline at a home on Old Kamloops Road Thursday morning.

BX Swan Lake Fire Department and the Armstrong Spallumcheen Fire Department attend a chimney fire that spread into the roofline at a home on Old Kamloops Road Thursday morning.



Tenants of last week’s house fire on Old Kamloops Road have found new homes.

“I’m relieved for sure,” said Morgan MacKenzie, who has found a place to rent with her boyfriend and two dogs while their roommate has found alternate accommodations.

“The Vernon community has been really nice.”

The blaze started as a chimney fire Thursday morning but spread into the attic.

The tenants, who were home at the time, noticed the fire right away and were able to save a number of personal belongings.

Emergency Social Services put them up in a hotel for three days following the fire.

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A morning chimney fire which spread through the attic of an Old Kamloops Road home has left several residents out in the cold.

BX-Swan Lake and Armstrong firefighters battled the blaze near Highway 97 Thursday morning, but the home is destroyed.

“It’s going to be a loss,” said BX-Swan Lake fire chief Bill Wacey, while battling the fire in -24. “The roof has come down in on it.”

The three adult residents are now desperately searching for a new rental home.

“We really have nothing right now,” said Mike Mortenson, who shared the home with two roommates. “It’s the middle of the winter and we have to move and the worse thing is we don’t have a place to move to.

“I’ve never had something like this happen before. This will be a struggle for sure.”

The three friends, who all work and may need to take some time off to sort things out, have been put in a hotel for three nights, but after that they will be homeless unless someone has a rental to offer them.

“We have two dogs which makes it really hard to find a rental,” said Mortenson, a truck driver who also needs acreage with easy access to park his semi.

The trio are looking for a 2-3 bedroom home in the $2,000 range, including utilities – which is about what they were paying at the home which was destroyed Thursday.

It was a frantic and frightening situation, as Mortenson describes.

“I just got home from work and I was sitting beside the fire watching a movie and I kept hearing this popping. At first I thought it was the wood cracking.”

Because the fire started in the chimney, none of the smoke detectors went off, but Mortenson quickly realized that there was a fire and woke his roommate up to get her out.

After realizing that they couldn’t access the blaze, which was spreading to the attic, the residents then started throwing their belongings out of the home, desperate to save all they could.

“We had three or four guys that showed up out of nowhere and gave us a hand,” said Mortenson, who never got a chance to thank them.

While they managed to save some things, the tenants did not have renters insurance and will therefore be starting all over again.

But Mortenson’s biggest concern right now is finding a place to live. Anyone can help can call 587-777-0475.