UPDATED: Three firefighters hurt in condo blaze

Kelowna - Firefighters have evacuated nearby houses on Truswell Road

UPDATE: 8 a.m. Sunday, July 9

The Rose Valley Animal Clinic in West Kelowna is offering to take in cats affected by the huge fire on Truswell Road in Kelowna Saturday.

The fire, that forced the evacuation of 176 homes in four multi-family buildings, as well as nine nearby houses, destroyed a six-storey building under construction before spreading to buildings nearby.

Veterinarian Dr. Mose Oz said his clinic has already taken in four cats and has space for more. He and his staff can be reached at 250 300-6157.

UPDATE: 7 p.m.

The evacuation order issued for 176 units on Truswell and Capozzi Roads will remain in place overnight tonight.

Emergency personnel say power and gas have been turned off for the area, which also means residential fire smoke alarms and suppression systems may be non-operational.

The evacuation order impacts The Waters Edge (65 units), Walnut Grove Motel (37 units), Charles M. Suites (11 units), Mission Shores (54 units) and nine single family waterfront homes.

Fire suppression work will be ongoing tonight and possibly longer.

Evacuees are being directed to the Salvation Army on Sutherland Avenue, where Emergency Support Services are set up with food and shelter options for displaced residents.

People are being reminded to stay clear of the general area as it remains a restricted access area.

Three Kelowna firefighters and a construction worker were transported to Kelowna General Hospital earlier today for treatment of injuries.

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Update: 3:50 p.m.

One Walnut Grove Motel resident was in near tears as she watched her home burn.

Asked to be called T.K. she said she had to leave her truck behind.

“Everybody got out OK, stuff can be replaced but it’s tough to watch it burn,” she said. “And I just got a new sofa.”

“It’s upsetting, but you know.”

Evacuees are being directed to the Salvation Army on 1480 Sutherland Ave where emergency support services are set up, according to a Central Okanagan Emergency Operations release.

“People are being asked to stay clear of the area as it remains under restricted access,” said the release. “The hot dry weather continues to push the fire danger across the province to critical and people are being asked to remain extremely cautious with items such as barbecues and cigarettes.”

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Update: 3:15 p.m.

Three Kelowna firefighters and a construction worker were transported to Kelowna General Hospital for treatment of injuries, says Kelowna Fire Departmemt deputy chief Lou Wilde.

Wilde said the firefighters were being treated for relatively minor injuries while the status of the construction worker was not known at this time.

The danger this fire presented to firefighters intially responding to the scene is becoming more evident, as Wilde said an exterior escape ladder had to be used to rescue three firefighters from the scene.

The fire started at the Water’s Edge complex in the building currently under construction, and spread to the neighbouring occupied complex building, forcing those tenants to be evacuated. Both of those buildings have been destroyed by the fire.

The fire also spread to The Walnut Grove, a nearby one-storey residential complex, where as many as 10 units had to also be evacauted.

The fire was initially reported by a roofing crew but Wilde said fire investigators are now on site interviewing construction workers to determine exactly how the fire ignited.

“With the first building where the fire started being under construction, there was no sprinkler system in place so there was so much heat, it caused the existing structure to collapse,” Wilde said.

“We got lucky because of the conditions deteriorating…I wouldn’t want to go through this again.”

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Update: 12:57 p.m.

A next door building has reportedly caught a bit of the blaze at Truswell Road, with a balcony on fire.

The only thing reportedly still standing in the original building that was under construction is a tower in the middle.

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Update: 12:36 p.m.

Most of the building has reportedly collapsed, as flames have reportedly engulfed the building.

Black smoke is pouring into the sky from an unfinished condo building that caught fire late Saturday morning on Truswell Road.

Crackling can be heard by bystanders, who have been pushed back to Lakeshore Road, and side pieces of the building had reportedly fallen off the building before the blaze became out of control.

Firefighters were attempting to tackle the fire with a pair of water lines, but currently they are currently letting the fire burn, as homes nearby have been evacuated.

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Original: 12:11 p.m.

Emergency crews in Kelowna have been called to a two-alarm fire at a condo building under construction at 3865 Truswell Road.

Smoke is reportedly visible from blocks away, with flames through the roof at the building.

Two ambulances have been called to the scene, with unconfirmed injuries reported.

Firefighters have appeared to evacuate from the building.

A reporter at the scene says the building looks half built, and five fire trucks are on scene, accompanied by one ambulance.

One firefighter was loaded into the ambulance, but did not appear to be suffering any major injuries.

At least three firefighters went into the building to help evacuate.

It appears the fire sparked just before 11:30 on Saturday, and the next door building at 3885 Truswell Road have also been asked to evacuate.

As this is a developing story, the Capital News will have more details as they are available.

with files from Carli Berry

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