Temporary residents and staff of Vernon’s Turning Points Collaborative Society’s newly renovated shelter space on 37th Street and 25th Avenue were sent out into the rain by a reported electrical fire Sunday, Oct. 18.
The call came in around 5:30 p.m. with Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP on-scene.
No smoke or flames was visible outside the building, but fire personnel discovered a fire in the attic of the former warehouse which was quickly extinguished.
All occupants of the building were evacuated with more than 20 people visible watching the action unfold in the rain.
BC Hydro was called to the scene and power to the building was shut off just before 6 p.m. to allow firefighters to overhaul the facility.
No word yet on what caused the fire or how long the individuals will be outside.
The Morning Star reported in September that the blue warehouse, shaped like a Quonset hut, was under construction before it would welcome guests from a temporary emergency shelter established at the Vernon Curling Club. That temporary shelter closed earlier in October.
The 37th Street property, owned by BC Housing, is a short-term solution as the lease with the curling club was slated to conclude at the end of September.
Our Place and Gateway Shelter sites combined under the curling club’s roof in early April as the province’s first to amalgamate shelters to better protect those experiencing homelessness from COVID-19. The curling club allowed for more physical distancing for clients and staff alike.
Turning Points Collaborative Society is operating the new temporary shelter in the blue warehouse.
Staff will be onsite 24-7 to support up to 90 guests and manage daily operations. Daily meals, storage space, laundry and cleaning services will be provided onsite.
Interior Health will also provide health services onsite based on individual needs, the provincial agency said.