Fire ripped through this Elm Ave. apartment fire on Oct. 27, 2020, killing an elderly couple and displacing around 50 residents. (Brennan Phillips Western News)

Deadly Penticton apartment fire caused by smoking materials

Community rallied around Skaha fire victims with donations and food

Smoking materials from a first-floor unit is the cause of the fire that ripped through a Skaha apartment building, displacing 50 residents in the early morning hours of Oct. 27.

The Penticton Fire Department confirmed the cause, saying that the flames crept up the building through to the roof. The blaze at the Elm Avenue complex displaced more than 50 people. Sadly, a couple died in the fire. William and Margaret Taylor were retired, loved to travel and volunteered in the community.

READ MORE: Condolences pour in for fire victims

Penticton RCMP was called out to the blaze at 4:18 a.m. to assist the Penticton Fire Department. Once the fire was out and a structural engineer deemed it was safe to go in, fire services located the bodies of two people.

Even as the fire was still going, neighbours were offering their homes, blankets and food to the displaced residents.

FIRE IN PHOTOS

Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson said almost all the residents had insurance or have family or friends to live with.

He doesn’t know how long residents will be out of their homes.

“The renovations are taken care of by the insurance company,” said Watkinson.

After the devastation, the community wanted to rally around the fire victims.

A donation centre was set up at the Penticton Salvation Army thrift store and financial donations could go through the Canadian Red Cross.

“We were inundated with donations for the fire victims,” said Al Madsen, Salvation Army business manager.

“We were given so much we could supply all of Penticton with items for their home. Eventually, we couldn’t take anymore. Here in Penticton, we don’t know how lucky we are with everyone so willing to help those in need, no matter what the situation.”

Another example of this caring community is the Christmas hamper donations they get every year.

“Because of the community’s care, we were able to make 750 hampers,” he said. Those hampers were provided to those in need in Penticton, Keremeos and Cawston.



monique.Tamminga@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

With a second case of COVID-19 confirmed at South Canoe Elementary, parents were advised Thursday, Jan. 14, that the school could be closed for a week or so. (Contributed)
UPDATE: Four cases of COVID-19 identified at Salmon Arm elementary school

Temporary closure being considered for South Canoe Outdoor Learning School

Lindsay Palmateer, a Salmon Arm mother of six, succumbed to her injuries after a serious crash Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, south of Enderby. (Contributed)
‘She was everyone’s caretaker’: Salmon Arm mother of six remembered

GoFundMe campaign exceeds goal already for family involved in deadly crash near Enderby

City of Salmon Arm Coun. Chad Eliason goes public with the information he went to Mexico over Christmas. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm councillor travels to Mexico over Christmas holiday

Politician says he regrets decision and didn’t consider the ramifications

Salmon Arm Recreation notified the public of a COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm pool on Jan. 14. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Salmon Arm pool

Salmon Arm Recreation became aware of the virus exposure on Jan. 13.

Askew’s Foods’ Claire Askew is concerned that due to budgetary constraints, pedestrian-friendly elements presented in early artist renderings of the Ross Street underpass may be sacrificed when the project is built due to budget constraints. (City of Salmon Arm image)
Salmon Arm businesses stress need for pedestrian-friendly Ross Street underpass

Concerns raised that walkability elements of underpass will be sacrificed due to budget constraints

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media/FILE)
Vehicle found abandoned after fleeing Kelowna RCMP, avoiding spike belt

Police believed at the time vehicle was tied to alleged shooting in West Kelowna

West Kelowna RCMP are investigating reports of gunfire in the 1700-block of Ross Road. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating reports of gunfire

West Kelowna RCMP said the incident occurred on Jan. 14

Penticton’s 7-Eleven is closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, the company announced Jan. 15, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton 7-Eleven closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19

The store will re-open “on or before” Jan. 23

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Deb White, carnival chairwoman, rode in on style Saturday during the parade. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Pandemic postpones parade, heart of Vernon Winter Carnival

Interior Health says no to one of B.C.’s only winter parades

Letters to the Editor.
Letter: Shuswap MLA’s concern for teachers ironic

Writer says now is not a time for partisan politicking

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project is on track, despite COVID-19 and the recent provincial election. (Government of BC photo)
1 month closure planned for Highway 1 near Golden

This closure is expected from April 12 until May 14. Others are planned in the future.

Most Read