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“Everything is gone’: Multiple homes destroyed in Penticton multiplex fire

Penticton Fire Dept. got the blaze under control within an hour but not before homes were lost
Maple Street apartment fire. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

A large fire erupted at a multi-household residential building Tuesday (June 29) evening on Penticton’s Maple Street.

The blaze at the three-storey multiplex was reported just after 5 p.m. and affected three, three-storey attached homes.

Within 20 minutes, flames and black smoke began billowing from the building. The flames burned through the second and third floors as well as through the roof.

The Penticton Fire Department was able to quickly get a handle on the blaze and it was extinguished before 6:30 p.m. However, extensive damage to the building had already been done.

Residents were evacuated from the multi-home building. The city has set up an intake centre for evacuees on Ellis Street, across from Cannery Brewing.

Those evacuated from their homes are asked to check in at the centre as soon as they are able to.

Kevin Large lived in the unit next to the one where the fire started with his fiance, children and roommate.

He said the fire grew so quickly he and his family barely had time to react.

“We opened the door and 30 seconds later the whole house was filled with smoke, we had to get out,” Large said as firefighters continued to try to put out the remaining flames.

The unit where the fire originated was damaged the worst but two other units are also destroyed.

“I could see the whole roof is gone where my bedroom is… everything, everything is gone,” Large said.

Large said he’s thankful everyone in his unit was able to make it out safely; but, sadly, two of his three cats weren’t as lucky and likely perished in the blaze.

Maple Street was closed in both directions near the location of the fire as firefighters fought to contain the blaze with RCMP and paramedics on the scene.

The Penticton Fire Dept. has not yet been made available for comment but an investigation is expected to take place in the coming days.

- With files from Brennan Phillips

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Jesse Day

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