Vernon RCMP officer prevents potential fire

An alert RCMP officer is being praised for preventing a potential apartment fire tragedy in downtown Vernon.

An alert RCMP officer is being praised for preventing a potential apartment fire tragedy in downtown Vernon.

The officer was conducting downtown patrols shortly before 3:30 a.m. Sunday when he thought he heard a fire alarm coming from an apartment building in the 3600 block of 30th Avenue.

The alarm sounded like a private residential smoke alarm coming from the second floor on the east side of the building.

“The officer got out of his vehicle to investigate the alarm,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk. “He got into the building and went to several floors before discovering the alarm in a third-floor unit.”

The officer looked through a small mail slot in the door to the unit and could see a kettle left on the stove actively overheating. Surrounding plastic  was melting and about to catch fire.

“He could not get anyone inside to answer the door so the officer kicked the door in to gain entry to the suite,” said Molendyk. “He removed the kettle from the stove to prevent a fire in the apartment building.”

Inside the unit was a 36-year-old man sleeping in a bedroom. Molendyk said the man was heavily medicated as he suffers from several illnesses and is an amputee of both legs.

The officer spoke to the man who had no recollection of leaving the kettle on the stove.

“Our officer dealt with the kettle before a fire started so the fire department was not called,” said Molendyk. “There was a smell of plastic in the air but venting the room cleared it out.”

There were no injuries or property damage.

“A fire was prevented thanks to a working smoke alarm and an alert officer investigating the sound,” said Molendyk.