3 firefighters sent to KGH

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

Close to 40 firefighters fought the massive condo blaze on Truswell Road for most of Saturday, with three of them ending up in the hospital. 

Deputy Fire Chief Lou Wilde says one of the four firefighters who were trapped on a balcony before being rescued with a ladder suffered burns to his hands, and will be spending the night at Kelowna General Hospital.

Two other firefighters were taken to KGH for heat exhaustion, but were later released.

"The ambulance has been here doing a great job helping our members rehab between their shifts in and out of the fire, cooling them down and getting them hydrated and whatnot," Wilde said. 

UPDATE: 6:25 p.m.

An evacuation order has been issued for 176 units on Truswell and Capozzi Roads due to the building fires in Kelowna's Mission district.

The order will remain in place overnight tonight as power and gas have been turned off for the area, which also means residential fire smoke alarms and suppression systems may be non-operational.

The evacuation order impacts The Water's Edge (65 units), Walnut Grove Motel (37 units), Charles M. Suites (11 units), Mission Shores (54 units) and nine single-family waterfront homes. 

Fire suppression work will be ongoing tonight and possibly longer, the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre said in a press release.

Evacuees are being directed to the Salvation Army on Sutherland Ave, where Emergency Support Services are set up with food and shelter options for displaced residents.

UPDATE: 5:15 p.m.

A fire boat is helping fight the fire at Water's Edge.

The Kelowna Fire Department's marine unit is pumping water from Mission Creek onto the building from near the mouth of the creek.

UPDATE: 4:53 p.m.

Residents evacuated from a neighbouring building in the Water's Edge condo fire say they saw the devastating blaze begin.

The neighbours, who didn't want to give their names, said they saw a workman at the construction site using a torch on what they believed to be roofing type material.

The worker was at the site all morning, and all of sudden the neighbours noticed flames getting away from him.

He apparently tried tearing away at the material to halt the spread of the flames and burned his hands in the process.

Castanet witnessed a man who appeared to be in work clothes in the back of an ambulance with his hands bandaged.

UPDATE: 4:40 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says all residents on Truswell Road have been evacuated, along with those at the Mission Shores Lakeside Resort.

The six-storey Water's Edge North building collapsed after being completely engulfed in flames after fire broke out about 11:30 a.m.

The fire spread to the adjacent Water's Edge and Walnut Grove buildings, where firefighters are currently focusing their attention.

Fire there appears to be limited to the northeast corner of the top floor, and at least four fire hoses are trained on the building, along with crews working from an adjacent balcony.

People are being asked to stay clear of the area as it remains under restricted access. 

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.

While the large fire caused the collapse of the Water's Edge North building, it also spread to the roof of the adjacent Water's Edge condo and several units at the Walnut Grove Motel.

Residents of these nearby occupied buildings have been evacuated.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations has set up an Emergency Support Services centre for evacuees at the Salvation Army at 1480 Sutherland Avenue.

The RCMP has asked the public to stay clear of the fire area, while emergency crews put out the blaze.

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

The Water’s Edge North condo building has collapsed in a pile of burning rubble.

The highrise under construction on Truswell Road in Kelowna’s Mission district erupted in flames Saturday.

A huge firefighter response is on scene, and the public is being kept back from the site as huge plumes of smoke tower over the city.

Ash is falling all around the neighbourhood, and police are going door to door at homes on the other side of Mission Creek, presumably evacuating residents.

The fire also has jumped to an adjacent building, where firefighters are focusing their attention.

All nearby buildings are being evacuated, and people are milling about in a chaotic scene.

Water’s Edge was unoccupied, as the building was not yet complete, but Cpl. Tania Carroll of the Kelowna RCMP says the second building that is now burning is occupied. RCMP are currently evacuating the second condo building. 

All that remains of the first building is flaming rubble.

Four firefighters had to be rescued from a balcony on the fourth floor during the earlier stages of the firefight, before the building was completely lost to flames. 

Cpl. Carroll says at this time, the cause of the fire is unknown, but she is urging members of the public to avoid the area to allow emergency crews to do their jobs.  

ORIGINAL: 12:04 p.m.

Four firefighters have been rescued from the fourth floor of a burning building on the 3600 block of Truswell Road in Kelowna's Mission district.

A Castanet reporter on the scene says the firefighters suddenly found themselves surrounded by thick black smoke in the apartment building which is under construction and headed for a balcony.

The trapped crew called to firefighters on the ground who then crawled up ladders to get to their colleagues.

Crews were called out around 11:30 a.m. but the fire took off around 11:55 a.m.

One of the firefighters was taken from the scene by ambulance.

Flames were still shooting from the structure 45 minutes after firefighters were called while smoke billowed into the sky. Windows could be heard shattering and ash fell on the surrounding buildings.

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