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

Woman able to find housing after fire destroys home

With the help of friends, Laura McKinnon has a place to stay

A Kelowna woman has been able to find a place to stay after a fire destroyed her apartment unit on Jan. 3.

The fire started in the apartment below Laura McKinnon, she said. Her son was also in the apartment at the time, as he was visiting home for the holidays.

The first day after the fire was a rough adjustment, she said, but she has been able to stay at her friend’s Airbnb until she moves into another friend’s suite.

“I thought I’d show him a little bit of a wild time,” she laughed.

“We were standing at the door and he had to run back up the stairs to grab my purse off the kitchen island and flames were already engulfing the room he’d been sleeping in and that was about a minute after he called 911.”

“I’m so lucky and insured. Everyone in that building is owner occupied and has to be insured.”

She is considering moving elsewhere.

McKinnon is also a member of the Kelowna 8 Ball Association and says her pool table is one of the items preventing firefighters from returning to the scene.

However, deputy fire chief Keith Meldrum said there was a number of safety concerns with the building.

“Overall, it’s unsafe at this point. We had a lot of structural integrity issues.”

The investigation will likely continue next week, he said.

Other residents have not been so lucky with finding a place to live.

One resident, who requested to remain anonymous, said his family and pet were able to escape the blaze unharmed but will begin searching for an apartment to rent for the next year until they can return to their home.

Now, the family is staying at a hotel.

At least four units were severely damaged.

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