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Kelowna RCMP investigate if squatters were in building before blaze

The burn victim’s injuries were not life-threatening

After a fire tore through an older building on Casorso Road, on Monday, RCMP are still trying to establish a cause. 

The building is across the street from the BC SPCA and was in an area with no fire hydrants. As temperatures reached more than 35 C the heat caused significant challenges for firefighters. 

At least two people were inside the building at the time of the blaze, with one person being taken to hospital for serious burns to their back. 

However, Cpl. Michael Gauthier said the burn victim’s injuries were not life-threatening and it is unclear if they are still in hospital. 

“It is uncertain how many people were residing in the building, at the time of the fire, and whether or not they were lawfully. Police are still looking into this,” said Cpl. Gauthier.

The building was a two-storey structure with a commercial section below and an apartment above and at one time used to house the BC SPCA Thrift Store. 

A man and a dog also escaped the burning structure thanks to the help of a passing BC Hydro vehicle. The driver had a ladder and was able to assist in getting the duo down from the second floor of the building. 

Those in the area who witnesses the blaze told Capital News that they had seen people coming and going from the building for some time and believed they were squatters.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing. 

Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

I graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. I also hold a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. I was also a reporter for Castanet and CBC. I am a volunteer with Okanagan Humane Society.
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