Large fire destroys home

Fire crews rushed to Parker Cove off Westside Road in the early morning hours of Saturday after neighbours called in a report of a house fire.

The fire, on the 200 block of Falcon Avenue, began at about 12:45 a.m. and quickly overtook the home.

John Colville, a neighbour, says the residents of the home were out of town during the fire and that it appears the house was a “total loss.”

Additionally, witnesses heard several small explosions during the fire and at least one propane tank exploded.

No adjacent buildings appeared affected during the massive blaze.

Fire officials are expected to be back at the house Saturday to investigate the cause of the fire.  

Truck shears off pole

Vernon Fire Rescue crews were busy Friday, attending a number of vehicle crashes.

In one, a pickup drove into a power pole on 43rd Avenue at 33rd Street around 1:05 p.m.

"A male, middle-aged, driver in a pickup was heading up 43rd when he drove onto the sidewalk and ended up colliding with a power pole," said Fire Captain Dan Walker. "He ended up shearing that pole off but thankfully it didn't fall."

The driver was taken care of at the scene before being handed over to a BC Ambulance crew.

Earlier, at 11:15 a.m., a two-vehicle accident at 48th Avenue and 29th Street near the Village Green Centre sent one elderly male to hospital, Walker said.

Xmas donor fatigue?

Donations to worthy local Christmas charity campaigns have been slower than normal with just over two weeks to go until the big weekend holiday.

The Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation announced Friday that its Light a Bulb campaign had reached $150,500 of its $250,000 goal. It counts the funds until Dec. 31.

“This year’s campaign is running behind compared to the last two years," confirmed campaign chair Kevin Arbuckle in a press release.

However Arbuckle added that the foundation is optimistic the community will come together in supporting equipment for VJH operating rooms.

Light a Bulb is raising funds for high definition camera heads and control units for four operating rooms the hospital.  The equipment would provide the surgical team with the tools to perform minimally invasive surgical and diagnostic procedures.

“Light a Bulb is a holiday tradition for many families, often through donations made in memory of a loved one or to acknowledge the care received at VJH,” said Arbuckle.  “For community members who are considering giving to the campaign, we want them to know their gift positively affects the lives of their families, friends and neighbours.”

Earlier this week, another big charity confirmed donations were not as high this Christmas season as they have been in the past.

On Dec. 7th, Vernon's Salvation Army reported that local people had so far donated about $135,000 to its Christmas Kettle campaign and letter campaign, about one-quarter of its $500,000 goal.

The money is used to supply the local food bank and for other family services.

There were also fewer people donating their time on the kettles.

Donations from local donors are down substantially for the United Way as well, according to Linda Yule, executive director of the United Way North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap.

Yule said those donations were sitting at about 70 per cent of what was raised last year.


Worker dies in accident

UPDATE: 1:15 p.m.

A male worker at a Vernon auto repair shop is dead after apparently being crushed by a vehicle.

WorkSafe BC confirmed Friday two inspectors were on the scene of a fatal industrial accident at Another Level Automotive.

"A preliminary investigation has found that a four-by-four vehicle slid off of a hoist and fatally pinned a worker," said Trish Knight Chernecki, WorkSafe's senior manager for media and government relations.

Knight Chernecki said the RCMP still had control of the scene.

WorkSafe inspectors were called out at 12:23 p.m.

The Vernon RCMP have also confirmed the death of a worker just before noon on Friday and have stated that the initial investigation continues at this time.

RCMP are investigating following an industrial accident in Vernon.

The accident happened Friday at Another Level Automotive & Offroad Ltd. on 34th Street.

Emergency crews were called out just before noon, but they did not stay long at the scene.

At least two RCMP vehicles remained behind.  

A Vernon Fire Rescue spokesperson confirmed an industrial accident had occurred, but would not comment further. 

Probing cause of fire

A structural engineer was expected on Friday to assess the damage done by fire to a single-family home in Lumby before the cause of the blaze could be investigated, according to Fire Chief Tony Clayton.

Serious damage was done to the house in the 2000 block of Grandview Avenue Thursday when fire broke about 10:30 a.m.

Several people were in the house at the time of the fire but all got out safely.

“There was a lot of structural damage,” Clayton said, adding the house was not liveable at this time.

Clayton said fire investigators must wait for the structural inspection and it is likely they will not enter the premises until Saturday to investigate the cause.

He was unable to provide details about the three people who had been living in the house.

Games volunteers needed

The 2017 55+ BC Games are less than a year away and a small army of volunteers will be needed to make the games a success.

Vernon was awarded the games, held Sept. 12-16, which are expected to attract more than 3,500 participants.

The games will require 1,200 to 1,500 volunteers.

All backgrounds and interests are welcome for the many available positions and opportunities throughout the Games.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can find more information online.

The 2017 Games website is the source for all 2017 55+ BC Games related information.

The site will be updated regularly with more information specific to Vernon and area activities, a games overview and the vision for 2017, volunteering opportunities, list of the sports, venues, accommodations and many other helpful links/facts and local maps as these become available.

“We are extremely excited about the progress we are making," said Anne Haight, director of promotions, Vernon & Area 2017 55+ BC Games. "With the launch of the Games website, it allows us to better communicate with organizers, athletes, and the public." 

Christmas dinner is served

“No one should be alone at Christmas.”

That is the only reason Jae McDermott and four other volunteers with the Together for Christmas Society spend so much time and effort organizing a Christmas Day dinner.

Held at St. James School, at 2700 28th Ave, the dinner is free to anyone in need.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 4 p.m.

McDermott said there will also be arts, crafts, entertainment and door prizes.

“Our main focus is no one should be alone at Christmas,” he said, adding this will be the eighth year the dinner has been held.

“We cook approximately 20 turkeys and 10 hams,” he said. “Last year, we served 350 - 400 meals. We have free transportation to bring people to venue.”

Anyone needing a ride can call 250-308-9973.

All of the food is donated to the society for the big feast.

McDermott said the number of people taking in the Yule Tide feast has increased every year and is comprised of seniors, homeless people, young families, the working poor and people from all walks of life.

McDermott said the meal is fully served and the volunteer list is full.

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