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Thursday, April 19, 2012 Capital News

NEWS

Fire forces familes out of the homes at Burtch Road complex Kathy Michaels STAFF REPORTER

An early morning blaze has left two Kelow-

na families out of house and home, while another is counting its lucky stars. Greg Krasichynski lives in the only Burtch

Road townhouse that was not damaged in the Wednesday morning fire and, after a harrowing night, he’s coming to grips with

what can only be summed up as a close call. His wife, Krasichynski explained, was getting ready to go on a graveyard

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shift when she caught a whiff of the fire, and called 911. “Someone said it smelled like a car just started up—a puff of smoke,” he said, noting he wouldn’t have noticed the early warning sign. “If she wasn’t awake, this could have ended badly for a lot of people.” The fire was smouldering in a pile of old mattresses behind one of the townhouses when it was detected. Residents evacuated but by the time fire crews arrived an adjacent wood fence had caught fire and the end unit of the three impacted townhouses was fully engulfed. Within 30 minutes of arriving the Kelowna Fire

Department’s full complement of firefighters had the flames under control, effectively saving the other two residences. “They were professional and on top of it and it was fantastic,” Krasichynski said. “But the fire was massive and angry.” The smell, he said, was one of the most overwhelming things complex residents had to contend with as crews battled to save their homes. “There was just a horrible, poisonous, noxious smoke,” he said. “It was forced by high pressure into every opening in the attic and the steam (from the smoke and hoses) was forced out through every orifice.”

The noxious fumes sent one resident to hospital, but Krasichynski said he was back home by mid-afternoon. Smoke damage was also what ended up making the second house uninhabitable for the time being, said Krasichynski, and its residents are now in the hands of emergency social services. His home was left largely unscathed, and the only lingering damage is the smell and the chaos for the families who live in the subsidized housing complex. “It’s stressful,” he said. “Because of the hour, it took everybody by surprise, there were a lot of cases of shock.” kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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Kelowna Capital News, April 19, 2012  

April 19, 2012 edition of the Kelowna Capital News