The Kelowna Fire Department says the evidence is pointing towards smoking as the cause of the fire on Cameron Avenue, Jan. 3.
The cause is still undetermined, but through witness statements and the investigation, the fire likely started with a lighter or matches, said Gayanne Pacholzok, fire prevention officer.
“We feel like it was smoking material,” she said. “All the interviews and evidence points towards it being purely accidental.”
Several Kelowna residents were left homeless after a fire tore through the townhouse complex.
At about 12:40 a.m., Kelowna Fire Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a fire in a townhouse on the 1200 Block of Cameron Avenue.
“The first arriving unit reported flames coming out the front of a ground floor deck of a two-story townhouse,” explained platoon captain Tim Light.
“The fire was deep seated upon the arrival of the fire department and proved difficult to extinguish. The fire did extensive damage to several units of the complex.”
KFD responded with four engines, one rescue vehicle, one command unit, a safety truck, a deputy chief and 20 personnel. Eleven more off-duty members were called in as well.
Six units suffered extensive damage and two more have minor smoke damage.
The investigation was put on hold until Monday, as the building was deemed unsafe for investigators.