What began as a call to the Kelowna Fire Department for a blaze at a local apartment building ended in the arrest of a “very distraught man,” say the Kelowna RCMP.
Just before 6 a.m. on June 3, Mounties responded to an urgent request for help from firefighters who were responding to reports of a fire at an apartment building near Harvey Avenue and Ethel Street.
Firefighters had located an extremely distraught man, who had obvious injuries, inside the building. The man was observed to be armed with a knife and bear spray.
After a confrontation with fire crews, the man barricaded himself inside a unit of the building.
Officers evacuated residents and provided them shelter on public transit buses and the building was cordoned off to allow first responders to safely deal with the situation.
“RCMP worked diligently to provide cover and protection to firefighters who worked strategically to fight the fire and evacuate smoke from the building,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
The Southeast District RCMP’s Emergency Response Team was deployed, along with a critical incident commander and a crisis negotiator.
The 67-year-old Kelowna man was eventually taken into custody.
“The arrest was complicated by the challenging conditions at the scene, including smoke, water and of course, a fire,” reads an RCMP news release on the incident. “He was immediately assessed at the scene by BC Emergency Health Services and transported to hospital for medical treatment and care. He has since been released from custody pending further investigation and could face charges.”
“Furthermore, a member of the Southeast District RCMP Emergency Response Team sustained a non-life-threatening injury, which required medical attention at hospital,” said Noseworthy.
Police believe the man’s injuries were self-inflicted. Investigators are working on determining the cause of the fire.
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