Sunday morning, smoke was still billowing from a house where Penticton firefighters had been battling a blaze since 3 a.m. Steve Kidd/Western News

Freezing temperatures complicate response to destructive blaze in Penticton

An older home on Huth Ave. was destroyed and a firefighter suffered broken ribs after a fall

Huth Avenue in Penticton is covered in a sheet of ice this morning after firefighters battled a stubborn house fire through the early hours of Sunday morning in freezing temperatures.

The fire was still putting up a column of smoke Sunday morning as crews worked to extinguish remaining hot spots.

The call came in for a tree fire on Huth Avenue near Fairview Road, at 2:40 a.m. on Feb. 10. Even on their way to the scene, fire chief Larry Watkinson said they could see it was something bigger.

“They could see a big column of smoke and they could see the light in the air and they knew it was something more significant than that. As soon as they came around the corner they launched the third alarm,” Watkinson said.

Penticton RCMP advised they were taking over the scene of an early morning house fire in Penticton and secured it with police tape around the block. Steve Kidd/Western News

The Penticton Fire Department quickly rushed more resources to the scene of the fully involved house fire, but the older home, which Watkinson said is one of several in Penticton which still has sawdust insulation, was beyond saving.

“Right away we got as many resources as we could to the fire but it was long gone before we could get too much on to it,” Watkinson said.

Related:Keremeos firefighters knock down blaze

Temperatures as low as -20 degrees at the scene of the fire created additional challenges for the firefighters. One firefighter had a bad fall due to the icy conditions and suffered broken ribs.

“It certainly makes it more challenging maintaining the water and freezing hydrants,” Watkinson said of battling the blaze in the freezing temperatures.

“Ultimately water was flowing well the hydrant system worked. At the end of the day, we were able to control the fire from spreading to other properties.”

Watkinson said the fire department the fire department is working with the RCMP and investigation of the cause of the continues.


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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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