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Neighbours pull man from burning Penticton, B.C. motel room, fire under investigation

The aftermath of a fire at the Granada Inn motel in Penticton on Monday morning. Shelby Thom\Global News

It was a dramatic scene at a Penticton motel early Monday morning as neighbours rushed to the aid of a man trapped in a burning room.

Just before 6 a.m., a fire broke out in a second-storey single room at the Granada Inn motel on Skaha Lake Road.

Shan Aune, who is one of several people renting out rooms long-term during the tourism off-season, said he heard people screaming about a fire and went to investigate.

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“I heard somebody yell ‘fire, fire,’ so I ran outside and I saw flames shooting out of the window, and the next thing I knew there was five of us out here kicking the door, trying to get it open,” he told Global News at the scene.

Firefighters respond to an early morning fire at a Penticton motel. Mike Biden

“We finally got the door open and the flames out. I went inside and I kicked the bathroom door open and I said ‘hey buddy, we got to go.'”

READ MORE: ‘It could have gotten out of control’: Penticton fire quickly quashed

Aune said the sole male occupant of the unit was pulled to safety, uninjured.

“It was the first time I have ever had to do something like this,” he said.

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Penticton fire department deputy chief Chris Forster said the motel was evacuated as a precaution and the fire victim left the area before crews arrived.

“The alarm system would have gone off and all occupants were outside until such time it was deemed safe to return to their units,” he said.

“The crews saw smoke coming from the second floor and the fire was from one unit which they found to have extensive fire damage but there wasn’t much fire involvement at the time,” he said.

Black smoke visible from Skaha Lake on Monday morning. Kristie Caron\Facebook

Forster wouldn’t say if the fire is considered suspicious, but confirmed the RCMP are investigating.

READ MORE: Penticton wildfire dangerous sign of ‘substantial drought’ conditions in region: BC Wildfire Service

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Fire crews were kept busy Monday morning, responding to a separate call just before 7 am. about a fully-engulfed RV motor home on the Penticton Indian Band reserve, between the airport and the river channel.

“The crews found it fully-involved and readily extinguished it. The occupant was out of the unit and was found a short distance away,” Forster said.

Smoke from the fully engulfed RV fire could be seen from much of Penticton Monday morning. Erin Elizabeth\Facebook

“The firefighters provided first aid to the occupant and with the help of members from the Penticton Indian Band they assisted the patient to EHS.”

Neighbours in the area said they believe the trailer was abandoned on an agricultural property and may have been occupied by squatters. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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