Despite a number of animals penned nearby, none were injured in a house fire Thursday evening near Vernon.
The Irish Creek Road home, near the Okanagan Indian Band, was completely destroyed by the blaze.
“When we arrived it was already fully involved,” said Dave Lawrence, Okanagan Indian Band fire chief.
RCMP also attended the scene. The home is actually in a no-fire protection area, but OKIB crews remained on scene until 5 a.m. to ensure the fire was extinguished. They arrived on the scene around midnight.
“There was a bunch of animals, horses and goats, penned next to the house,” said Lawrence, “We broke the fence down and turned them loose.”
The eight horses ran up the property to join the remaining horses on the land.
“There are a lot of horses up there,” said Lawrence.
The five goats returned to the pen after the fire was extinguished.
“They just went back into their pen,” said Lawrence.
The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP (Rural) General Investigative Section and RCMP fire investigators have now taken control of the investigation. Updates will be provided once they become available.
“The investigation is still in the very early stages and the scene has been secured as investigators continue to look into the cause of the fire,” said Const. Kelly Brett.
Brett said all animals sustained no apparent injuries and were all accounted for.
Lawrence confirmed the house is the residence of Carla Christman. Christman is under investigation by the BC SPCA after concerns over emaciated farm animals on her property.
Irish Creek Road is located off Highway 97 and connects back to Westside Road.
Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP (Armstrong Detachment) at 250-545-3028, remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.nokscrimestoppers.com. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.