UPDATED: Massive blaze engulfs Sahali apartment building
Updated at 9 p.m. on Feb. 29:
Firefighters will remain on-scene overnight at a Summit Drive apartment building after a massive fire in the structure this afternoon (Feb. 29).
"They're going to be working that fire all night tonight," Kamloops Fire Rescue (KFR) inspector Sheldon Guertin told KTW.
"Then, tomorrow, we're going to be doing a safety assessment."
Guertin said the next step after that will be to figure out if and when residents of Copper Ridge Court, 1375 Summit Dr., will be allowed to return to their suites to salvage belongings.
He said investigators also hope to sweep the building tomorrow for any pets which might have been left behind when the building was evacuated at about 1:30 p.m.
"Then we'll be getting into the investigation, too, but I don't think we'll be able to get to that until Monday," he said.
According to Guertin, there were approximately 100 people living in the 52 suites inside the building impacted by the blaze.
There are an estimated 50 displaced residents taking advantage of emergency housing at Interior Savings Centre.
Guertin urged evacuees looking for more information to contact their building manager. He said KFR is hoping to set up an information line for residents tomorrow.
In the meantime, Guertin asked anyone who captured photos or video footage of the blaze to provide him with a copy to help with the investigation. Images and video can be emailed to email@example.com.
Dozens of residents of a Sahali apartment complex will likely be displaced from their homes after a large fire tore through the top floor of Copper Ridge Court, 1375 Summit Dr., on Wednesday (Feb. 29) afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to the building just after 1:30 p.m. for a report of smoke. Firefighters arrived to find smoke billowing from the building’s roof.
Within a few minutes, flames could be seen and additional firefighters were called in.
At about 2 p.m., Kamloops Fire Rescue (KFR) officials had police shut down traffic on Summit Drive between Notre Dame and Arrowstone drives.
By 2:30 p.m., flames could be seen shooting through the roof of the building’s north side and two top-floor units appeared to be fully engulfed.
Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene into the morning.
KFR assistant chief Jim Bell said crews believe the fire started in a third-floor laundry room and quickly spread.
“It apparently started in that area and it got into the ceiling from that room and started burning in the ceiling,” he said.
“It’s very difficult to get at. We are working on it.”
Bell described the blaze as “complicated” because of where it was in the building, and estimated there were about 30 firefighters at the scene.
Copper Ridge Court resident Kassandra MacCarthy, a student at Thompson Rivers University, said she was shocked to find her building up in flames.
“I was walking up and I saw them [firefighters] all running, and I was like, ‘I hope that’s not my building,’” she said.
“I was just coming to get my books so I could study.”
As of 3 p.m., thick black smoke was still billowing above the building and dozens of curious onlookers had gathered to watch firefighters battle the blaze from across Summit Drive.
It’s believed all residents were able to get out of the building safely.
KFR inspector Sheldon Guertin said crews are using "defensive tactics" in battling the blaze by 5 p.m.
"It's definitely one of the bigger ones we've had in quite a while," he said.
Check kamloopsthisweek.com for updates.