Firefighters were called to the Gospel Mission on Leon Avenue Sunday morning

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission lit up by men in makeshift shelter

Kelowna's Gospel Mission came within inches of a full-scale crisis Sunday when a fire sparked outside its doors spread rapidly ...

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission came within inches of a full-scale crisis Sunday when a fire sparked outside its doors spread rapidly, singeing the outer layer of operations.

“There were a couple of gentleman outside that had set up their shopping carts with a plastic tarp over them,” said James Gleghorn, the mission’s development officer. “They had a candle, and it got knocked over, and that got their carts on fire, then the (Gospel Mission) van went on fire, then the building.”

Firefighters intervened quickly after getting the 2:50 a.m. call , stopping the blaze’s advancement, but the damage could set operations back some.

Although ICBC still has to assess the damage on the van, it looks like a write-off said Gleghorn, noting that the engine and front end are completely burnt.

The storage shed that was damaged is used to keep the mission’s dried goods, which are also now a loss.

To fight the flames, the fire department had to take the roof off the shed, then it rained before they could take out the supplies.

The biggest loss, however, is to future operations.

“We were trying to get a courtyard built this spring,” said Gleghorn, noting that it would have been a safe place for the guys who use their services to hang out, as opposed to Leon Avenue.

“Now, with all this, we’re not sure it will happen.”

Thus far plans for the courtyard were moving along quickly. Drawings had been rendered, they’d applied for a grant and they’d been rallying support around the city for financial aid.

Where that sits remains to be seen, but Gleghorn said that the one thing that’s clear is that the two men who allegedly caused the fire will be held to account for their actions.

“We’ll be pressing charges,” he said, adding that they are known to shelter staff, and little more.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is grateful to the quick response of the fire department and police department.

“Their work certainly saved us from further damage or any threat to many men and women who were in the shelter at the time,” he said.

Just Posted

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serves annual Christmas dinner

Between 700 to 800 meals were served Saturday to the community

Your weekend story highlights

Every Saturday, the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Porter blanks Blades in Rockets’ road trip finale

Rookie netminder stops 40 shots in Kelowna’s last game before Christmas break

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Most Read