Smoke explosion injures Kelowna firefighter

Click to play video: 'Second storey building fire on Pandosy Street in Kelowna' Second storey building fire on Pandosy Street in Kelowna
The Kelowna Fire Department says a firefighter was injured when a smoke explosion blew out part of a second-storey wall – Jan 18, 2019


A firefighter was sent to hospital on Friday following a ‘dirty fire’ in Kelowna’s Pandosy district.

The fire at Pope’s on Pandosy, a two-storey building, was sparked by roofers’ torches just before noon, according to the Kelowna Fire Department. Smoke poured out of the grey building as firefighters scrambled to battle the blaze.

Twenty-six firefighters responded to a fire along the 2800 block of Pandosy Street on Friday. Global News

At one point during the fire, a section of siding from the second storey was blown off. A firefighter was hurt because of debris from the explosion. The debris hit the firefighter in the chest and shoulders.

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“The fire got into the sawdust insulation in the ceiling due to the age of the building,” said Kelowna Fire Department platoon captain Tim Light. “So we opened the roof [and] extinguished the fire.”

WATCH BELOW: Interview with Kelowna Fire Department platoon captain Tim Light.

Click to play video: 'Interview with Kelowna fire captain after Pandosy building fire' Interview with Kelowna fire captain after Pandosy building fire
Interview with Kelowna fire captain after Pandosy building fire – Jan 18, 2019

Regarding the injured firefighter, Light said “there was one small, what we would call a smoke explosion. It sent one of our members to the hospital. I believe he’s in satisfactory condition right now.”

One person was inside the building when the fire started. Light said that person evacuated when smoke started entering the apartment.

The fire department responded to the blaze with five engines, a ladder truck, a rescue truck and 26 personnel.

Smoke can be seen from the second floor of the building that houses Pope’s Photography Studio on Pandosy Street. Global News

The building sustained fire, smoke and water damage. Light said the fire was contained to the ceiling and walls, though fire crews had to pull ceilings down because the building has sawdust insulation.

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“It’s what we would call a dirty fire,” said Light. “Lots of smoke, not a lot of flame until you start opening up the walls. And once the air gets to it, it tends to be quite a violent reaction.”

Light adds sawdust insulation is commonplace in older buildings, especially along Kelowna’s north end.

“It’s just one of the factors we deal with,” said Light. “You chase it a lot. With these older war-time buildings, sometimes there’s been renovations where there’s two or three ceilings in it and the fire can travel in between the ceilings.

“So that’s why we have to expose everything.”


Emergency crews in Kelowna are investigating reports of a fire inside a building on Pandosy Street.

Smoke could be seen wafting out of a second-floor window.

A section of an exterior wall on the second floor was blown off in the fire.

A firefighter was sent to hospital. The firefighter’s health isn’t known.

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Traffic is closed on Pandosy Street between Raymer Road and KLO Road.

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