Investigation into fire on Cameron Ave. in Kelowna has been suspended as the structure is unsafe to enter. - Image: Kevin Parnell

Updated: Fire investigation suspended due to unsafe conditions

Kelowna fire crews cannot complete an investigation of Cameron Ave. structure

Updated: 12:53 p.m.

At least 20 people were affected by the fire that damaged townhouses on Cameron Avenue, Jan. 3.

Catherine Williams, director of the Central Okanagan Emergency Support Services, said at least four homes were uninhabitable.

Vouchers were given to families that were affected by the blaze so they could purchase food and clothing.

Original:

The Kelowna Fire Department has been forced to suspend its investigation into a fire on Cameron Ave. that has severely damaged two units of the townhouses.

Platoon captain Steve Wallick says the department was in the process of investigating the cause of the fire Wednesday but deemed the structure unsafe to enter due to the amount of damage.

Related: Fire rips through Kelowna townhouse

The investigation, said Wallick, has been suspended until the property can be made safe, sometime early next week, he said.

While investigators were not able to find the cause, Wallick said they believe it started inside one of the two heavily damaged units

The fire began in the early morning hours of Wednesday morning and crews from the KFD spent most of Wednesday putting out hot spots.

Related: Kelowna Mountie helps to evacuate townhouse

Wallick said it was a challenging blaze due to below freezing temperatures in the middle of the night and then later as the structure was deemed unsafe, crews were not able to get inside to put out hot spots.

“The conditions made it really tough on the guys,” he said. “The equipment tends to fail and the ground gets really slippery with the freezing temperatures. As soon as a structure is compromised it affects our ability to get around and put out hot spots.”

The department has handed back control of the structure to the building’s management and a restoration company and Wallick said they hope to be able to pick up the investigation as early as Monday.

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