Police are investigating a suspicious fire at the Airport Inn in Lake Country that took place early Friday morning.
According to the fire department, the blaze started about 2 a.m. in one of the unoccupied wings of the building.
“Just looking at the scene we deem it highly unlikely that it was accidental at this point,” said Fire Chief Steve Windsor.
“Police are maintaining security on the site and it is considered suspicious.”
He said 24 firefighters responded to the call and knocked it down about 30 minutes later. There were no reports of any injuries.
“It was confined to a unit in one of the wings and we had some damage to a couple of the adjoining units,” said Windsor.
“That wing is not being used currently so that wing was empty of people.”
The District of Lake Country recently shut down the Airport Inn and are in the process of evicting its remaining tenants due to safety violations and the lack of an occupancy permit.
Despite the legal order, Windsor said there are still several people living on the property.
“There’s work to rehouse them off the property currently going on and find them new places to go, but none of them were involved in this situation or their unit,” said Windsor.
He decline to speculate about the cause of the fire, but said the RCMP arson investigators will be on scene tomorrow to investigate.
“There’s quite a bit of damage, but a lot of those units are unoccupied because they really haven’t been used in a lot of years.”
RCMP Cst. Lesley Smith said police have secured the property.
“Although this investigation is in it’s early stages, the circumstances surrounding the fire are being considered suspicious in nature,” she said.
James White, who still lives at the property with his wife, said the fire was deliberately set.
“There are nine people here that could have been seriously hurt by this action,” said White in an email.
“It is unjust and unfair what the city is doing by taking over his property and forcing people out of there homes. Now there will be nine more homeless people on the streets, who knows maybe we can be in someone’s backyard, its gonna be a long and cold winter. I can not believe I’m Canada anymore.”
In early October the district said the Lake Country Health Planning Society was working diligently to find appropriate housing options for the remaining residents.