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City of Penticton pays to clean up fire debris at heritage home explosion site

At a cost of $45,500, work at the former Warren House will begin Dec. 5
This is the charred remains of the 110-year-old Warren House on Lakeshore Drive. An explosion caused the home to collapse on March 7. The debris has remained untouched ever since. (File photo)

The city of Penticton will be cleaning up the mounds of fire debris left behind from the explosion at the historic Warren House on Lakeshore Drive.

The tender for the remediation and clean-up at 434 Lakeshore Drive has been awarded and will begin Dec. 5.

The winning bid was submitted by Scott Contracting and Excavating of West Kelowna with a total cost of $45,500.

Work on the project is expected to last several weeks to ensure all requirements of dealing with contaminated materials are followed.

The expense of the clean-up will be recovered from the property owner, said the city in a statement.

It’s been more than eight months since an explosion levelled the 110-year-old Warren House on March 7.

Within minutes the two-storey home was fully engulfed in flames with the top floor collapsing to the ground.

But since that awful day, the large mound of fire debris remains an eyesore in the eyes of the neighbours who petitioned the city in May to have it removed, saying it poses a health hazard and is unsightly.

The city originally gave the home owners a July 11 deadline to remove all the fire debris and burned trees. But extended the deadline.

The Ruutels, who owned the Warren House, were waiting on their insurance company Intact to respond after the fire. They later told the city in a letter that communication attempts with the company had failed and they were going to file a lawsuit against it.

However, in the Ruutels’ more recent correspondence with the city, they heard back from Intact on June 23, and indicated the insurance would be the one in charge of clearing the site.

Since then, no action has taken place on the site.

READ MORE: Fire debris mound still there 6 months later at former Penticton heritage house

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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