Crews at fire overnight

Colton Davies

UPDATE: 11:30 p.m.

Fire Chief Larry Watkinson said a woman is believed to still be missing following Wednesday night's spectacular house fire on Lakeside Road in Penticton.

Officials will be investigating Thursday morning the cause of the blaze that destroyed two homes.

Fire crews have entered the overhaul stage of putting out hot spots, and will be on the scene overnight. 

Lakeside Road is also expected to remain closed to traffic in both directions for the duration that crews are on scene.

Watkinson said "basically a full compliment" of the Penticton Fire Department attended the blaze, which broke out at about 6:15 p.m.

He said winds blowing north posed a difficult challenge as crews tried to knock down flames, as embers landed at the Skaha Lake Marina more than 150 metres away.

"As hard as it is to say that we've lost two structures... If that wind would've picked up harder, we would've literally had a block fire here," Watkinson said. 

He added that the home where the fire started was essentially engulfed in minutes.

"We're a short four-minute response from here, and that building was fully involved top to bottom when we arrived on scene, and pushing onto the neighbouring home."

The building where the fire began collapsed about 25 minutes later.

Two residents in the neighbouring home to the north of where the fire began were able to get out safely, but most of their home was destroyed by the blaze.

One of those resident said he tried to fight the flames with a hose before the fire jumped to his home.

Watkinson said those two residents were, however, able to salvage some belongings and prized possessions.

- with files from Colton Davies

UPDATE: 7:40 p.m.

An elderly woman who lived in a home that collapsed after being fully engulfed in flames has not been found.

Deputy Fire Chief Dennis Smith confirmed she has not been found at this time.

The fire raged through a home and jumped to another at about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 

According to officials at the scene, the fire is still burning, but not growing. 

UPDATE: 7:38 p.m.

People living on Lakeside Road said a 95-year-old woman was living at the home where the fire started. 

"We met her, we go by here everyday," said Sebastien Bade. 

Bade lives just three houses down the street from where the fire started.

"It's pretty scary," he said. "Especially when you see the home next-door pretty much gone right now so that easily could have been ours."

The whereabouts of the elderly woman living at the home is unknown at this time.

Bade said he and his wife hooked up their trailer and got prepared to leave the scene if they had to. 

UPDATE: 7:15 p.m.

Residents living at one of the homes that was fully engulfed in flames were able to escape safely on Wednesday night.

The fire engulfed at least two homes on Lakeside Road, near the Skaha Lake Marina.

Resident on scene told Castanet they said they saw smoke coming from their backyard patio and ran out.

A woman on scene ran towards officers saying "my mother is in there."

A 95-year-old woman lives at the home where the fire originally started.

UPDATE 7:00 p.m.

The home where the fire originated from has now collapsed, according to Castanet reporter Colton Davies.

At least one other home is fully engulfed in flames.

Crews continue to battle the inferno. 

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m.

Lakeside Road is closed in both directions after a large structure fire in Penticton.

Traffic is currently being turned around and drivers should use Highway 97 instead.

A resident living in the area said "I live in the condo building in Elm Avenue, I see insane smoke. I live in the back side and see it from my deck."

ORIGINAL: 6:38 p.m.

The Penticton Fire Department is responding to a large structure fire on Lakeside Road, near the Skaha Lake Marina.

Initial reports are of a fully engulfed home, that is sending a large plume of dark smoke over Skaha Lake.

Submitted photos show significant open flame and orange glow emanating from the fire.

Castanet News has a reporter on the way to the scene.

More information as it becomes available.

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