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West Kelowna home severely damaged by fire

Smoke billows from the roof of a West Kelowna home on Thursday morning. Global News

A home in West Kelowna, B.C., was severely damaged following a fire on Thursday morning.

The crackling flames got into the attic from the back of the home along Sunview Drive, went across the entire top floor, and sent billowing smoke through the roof, firefighters said.

It’s believed it started in the back deck area, according to initial reports.

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West Kelowna Fire Rescue (WKFR) said the owners were not at home at the time, but that the house was insured.

WKFR said damage to the house was extensive, and that investigators are deeming it accidental and undetermined, and are not considering it suspicious.

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“When crews arrived on scene, there were advanced fire conditions on the back side of the house,” said assistant fire chief Chad Gartrell, who noted that an off-duty member of the department who lives nearby helped call it in.

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“Our big concern at that point was that (the fire) was pushed into the second floor, and we also had extension to the house beside it.”

The fire was stretching from the involved house to the eaves of the neighbouring home, he said.

“Fortunately, the neighbouring home only received minor smoke damage in the attic space and did not catch on fire,” said WKFR.

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The blaze was so hot that crews needed to take breaks to cool off.

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“The heat stress related to not just the ambient temperature we have right now, but the addition of the gear and the workload that they’re required to do, is certainly heating our crews up,” said Gartrell.

In all, 20 crew members responded to the incident.

A view of the grass fire behind the home in West Kelowna that caught fire on Thursday morning. West Kelowna Fire Rescue

WKFR also noted that a small grass fire was ignited by the radiant heat, but that it was knocked down.

“This is a good reminder for homeowners that live along the wildland interface to ensure they fire smart priority zone one around their properties to prevent house to forest ignition,” said WKFR.

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