West Kelowna  

'Do not occupy' order posted on apartment building in West Kelowna, displacing about 150 tenants

Building declared unsafe

UPDATE 4 p.m.

About 150 tenants of a newly-constructed rental apartment building in West Kelowna have been displaced indefinitely.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue and the regional HazMat team spent Sunday searching for the source of the noxious odour to no avail. Crews, however, continue to detect levels of concern through various parts of the building at 3623 Elliott Road.

The building has now been turned over to its owner, declared unsafe with a “do not occupy” order posted.

West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund says no one may occupy the building until it has been made safe by the owner with the help of qualified professionals.

Residents of the building are directed to register with Emergency Social Services at the Royal LePage Arena on Cameron Rd in West Kelowna before 10 p.m. this evening. The reception centre will reopen tomorrow at 9 a.m. Impacted residents will receive 72 hours of support in the form of accommodations, food vouchers and incidental costs.

Property owner Ironclad Developments will be making arrangements for tenants after that time period.

"WKFR fire crews will remain on scene into this evening to assist evacuees by removing essential and critical items from the building (medications, identification, car keys). This can be arranged following registration at the ESS reception centre,” Brolund said.

“We thank the residents and owners of the building for their cooperation in this challenging situation. We are also grateful for the assistance of the ESS volunteers who continue to take care of the evacuees.”

The fire department says further updates will be provided by the building owner.

UPDATE: 1 p.m.

The West Kelowna apartment buildings evacuated Sunday morning due to a noxious odour are brand new, and residents only began moving in a few months ago.

Early Sunday morning, about 150 people were evacuated from the Lakeview Point apartment buildings, at 3623 Elliott Road, after a noxious odour was detected in one of them.

Two of the development's four buildings are currently occupied, while the other two remain under construction. Fire and HazMat crews have yet to locate the source of the smell.

Ironclad Developments owns and operates the rental apartments.

“Ironclad Developments Inc. fully supports the fire department’s decision to evacuate the building out of an abundance of caution and temporary relocate residents,” said Lauren Clemens, Ironclad's director of corporate affairs.

“A detailed inspection has already been completed and an additional inspection is taking place currently in an effort to safely and expeditiously reinstate full tenant access.”

Clemens says about 80 units between the two buildings are currently occupied.

An Emergency Support Services warming centre has been opened at Royal Lepage Place for the evacuated residents. Earlier, West Kelowna Fire Rescue chief Jason Brolun said “plans are in place” for residents if the source of the noxious smell is not found before nightfall.

An update on the situation is expected by 3 p.m.

UPDATE: 11 a.m.

Fire and HazMat crews continue to comb through a West Kelowna apartment building looking for the source of a strange odour first identified early Sunday morning, but they've yet to find it.

About 150 residents were evacuated from the building on Elliott Road just before 4 a.m. after the odour was first noticed in the building, and they remain unable to return.

“The building was swept and visually inspected all suites on the affected floors. Nothing was found. While some indications were received, none were strong or persistent enough to identify the exact nature or cause,” said West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund.

“The continued patience of the public and residents of the building is appreciated while we work to pinpoint the issue and return them to their homes as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The Emergency Support Services Team has opened up a warming centre at Royal Lepage Place for residents to go. Brolund says there are “plans in place” should residents need to remain evacuated through the evening.

Another update on the situation is expected at 3 p.m.

ORIGINAL: 7:10 a.m.

About 150 residents of a large West Kelowna apartment building were roused from their sleep in the early morning hours of Sunday over a strange odour in the building, prompting a response from Kelowna Fire Rescue's HazMat team.

At about 3:45 a.m., the odour was noticed at the building on Elliott Road near Gosset Road, and the residents were evacuated from their homes as a result.

While fire crews have been investigating the smell, as of 5:45 a.m., they had not yet found the source of the issue. It's unclear what's causing it.

As a result, 150 residents and their pets have been left with nowhere to go. West Kelowna Fire Rescue chief Jason Brolund says the Regional Emergency Support Services Team has been activated, and a warming centre has been set at Royal Lepage Place.

Buses have been transporting those residents who need a ride to the warming centre.

The ESS has asked everyone evacuated from the apartment building to register at Royal Lepage Place.

It's not clear when residents can expect to return to their homes.

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