A couch and other items placed too close to a baseboard heater caused a motel fire in Valleyview this week that displaced five people.
Kamloops Fire Rescue responded to the the Tournament Inn on Tuesday (March 2) at about 4:15 a.m. to douse the flames that erupted in unit 19 of the motel at 1893 Trans-Canada Hwy. East.
The unit in the motel was fully engulfed in flames, as was a motorcycle, trees, a gazebo and a vehicle outside the room, KFR platoon Capt. Troy Grant told KTW.
The fire also damaged two neighbouring units.
About about 14 firefighters responded to extinguish the blaze, with no injuries reported.
Fire investigator Kevin Cassidy told KTW the probable cause of the fire was determined to be from an in-suite baseboard heater and the fire has been deemed an accident.
He said a couch in the room was placed up against the heater, with unknown combustable materials left in between, all of which fuelled the fire.
Cassidy advised people to consult appliance user manuals or factory recommendations for proper clearances when using heating equipment. He said a hot plate was also used in the room for warmth and noted it is important residents only use appropriate heating sources.
Cassidy also stressed the importance of checking to ensure there are working smoke alarms, which alerted the two people within the unit — a man and woman — and their neighbours to the fire.
He said the man attempted to douse the blaze with a bucket of water, but the flames were too big at that point and the pair escaped without injury.
The man and woman, two people next door and a fifth person in another unit were displaced, but have been accommodated with alternative housing, Cassidy said.