A homeless camp between Highway 97 and Swan Lake was destroyed by an accidental fire Thursday, April 23, 2020. (File photo)

Vernon homeless camp destroyed by fire

BX-Swan Lake fire chief says the occupant lost all her possessions in the Thursday morning blaze

A fire destroyed a homeless camp north of Vernon Thursday morning.

At 5:40 a.m. fire crews were alerted to the blaze at 6800 block of Highway 97 near Swan Lake.

“We arrived on scene to find about a 30-by-30 brush fire. In the middle of it was the remains of a tent and a canopy,” said BX-Swan Lake Fire Chief Bill Wacey.

Wacey said they also found a woman standing on the side of the road, who had been living at the camp.

Wacey said the blaze was accidental, and that the woman was cooking on a single-burner gas stove when gusts of wind blew the flap of her tent onto the flame.

Wacey said the tent caught fire and quickly spread to her belongings and the surrounding brush. He added the woman was under the canopy as the fire started, but escaped with only minor burns to her leg.

Crews quickly doused the fire upon arrival, but the woman’s possessions were destroyed.

“She was pretty devastated,” said Wacey. “She didn’t have a lot to begin with, and she has a whole lot less now.”

READ MORE: Vernon outreach workers highlight opioid epidemic amid COVID-19

READ MORE: Flood prep begins in North Okanagan


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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