British Columbia

Elderly woman unaccounted for after fire destroys Skaha Lake home

Fire officials say a woman in her 90s has not been located after an aggressive fire destroyed one home and damaged another near Penticton B.C.

Fire officials say a woman in her 90s has not been located after an aggressive fire near Penticton B.C.

Firefighters from Penticton B.C. scrambled to contain a fast moving fire near Skaha Lake Marina on Wednesday, Oct 11, 2017. (Gunnar Fulton)

Emergency responders in Penticton have been unable to locate an elderly resident of a home that was destroyed by a fire on Wednesday evening, near Skaha Lake Marina.

Fire officials said one person is unaccounted for after flames destroyed one home and damaged another in the 3900 area of Lakeside Road.

"The reports are that there's a 90-some year-old lady that lives at home and nobody at this time can give her whereabouts or her location," said fire chief Larry Watkinson.

Crews responded with limited resources after receiving reports of a structure fire around 6:15 p.m. PT but upgraded the response while on route when they saw a large plume of black smoke.

As they got closer they could see the flames and upgraded it to a third alarm fire. Once on scene crews battled a heavy fire that had fully engulfed one residence.

The situation was made worse by a strong southerly wind that threatened to push the fire into Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and neighbouring homes.

"We were trying to defend the two properties to the north and the south of the primary dwelling that was fully engulfed in fire," explained Watkinson.

"[It also] ... stretched into large pine trees that could have been blowing embers throughout the park."

Once more crews arrived at the fire, Watkinson said they were better able to prevent the fire from jumping to neighbouring residences.

"However, there is significant damage to the dwelling to the north," he added.

By 9:30 p.m. the flames had been extinguished.

Because of the damage to the home, RCMP and fire investigators won't begin an investigation until Thursday morning.