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Kelowna  

Blaze began in bush

UPDATE: 1:30 p.m.

One of the people who first came upon Wednesday morning's apartment fire says the blaze started in a bush in front of the building. 

The man, who didn't provide his name, says he was one of three people plowing the streets in the area, when they noticed a small fire. 

"One of the shrubs was on fire and it lit up the side of the building," he said. 

He says the lead truck began blowing his air horn, to alert residents inside, and one of them phoned  911. 

"It went up fast," he said. 

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.


ORIGINAL: 9:30 p.m.

Kelowna firefighters and RCMP had their hands full with an early morning blaze at a townhouse on the 1200 block of Cameron Avenue.

An RCMP officer who spotted flames coming from the home woke residents by blasting his air horn and sirens.
 
“He initially used his police vehicle's emergency sirens and air horn to wake residents of the townhouse complex,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “A short time later, he was joined by additional officers as they began to start evacuations of the buildings.”
 
“Police forced their entry into as many as three separate residential units that were deemed to be in immediate danger of the spreading flames,” O’Donaghey added. “In some cases, police provided assistance to those with mobility issues.”
 
When firefighters arrived on scene, flames were coming out of the ground floor deck of a two-storey unit.

The blaze caused extensive damage to the complex and forced residents out onto the street in freezing temperatures.

BC Transit responded with a bus to keep people warm before taking them to the Salvation Army on Sutherland Avenue.

One person was taken to hospital in the incident.

Six units suffered extensive damage, while two had minor smoke damage. Residents likely won't be able to return home until later today at the earliest, The Kelowna Fire Department says.

Firefighters responded with four engines, one rescue vehicle, a command unit, safety truck and a deputy chief, along with 20 personnel. Eleven off-duty members were also called in.

Investigators are on scene this morning, investigating the cause of the fire. Damage to parts of the complex is extensive.



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