A Wednesday morning fire that levelled an abandoned house on 39th Avenue in Vernon has been deemed suspicious.
Vernon Fire Rescue has handed the investigation over to the RCMP, City of Vernon Communications Manager Christy Poirier confirmed Friday.
“Our Fire Investigator has been working with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP,” Poirier said. “The police are leading the investigation.”
The blaze broke out in a derelict, two-storey home on Highway 97 at 39th Avenue before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday (Oct. 21), casting thick smoke over the city. Around 20 firefighters were on hand to tackle the blaze from the ground level and from above on a ladder.
Crews were unable to access the inside of the home for safety reasons. A track hoe was brought in to tear the structure down Wednesday afternoon, allow firefighters to safely douse any remaining hot spots.
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time. Property owner Dan Currie said he won’t know what the cause of the blaze is until the investigation wraps up.
“There is nothing in there that can start a fire, it’s been closed for a year,” Currie said of the uninsured, unserviced house.
“Someone went in there and either torched it or started a fire to keep warm.”
Built in 1901, the house was once on the city’s heritage registry but had developed a notorious reputation, having fallen into disrepair over the years.
No injuries were reported as a result of the blaze, and the investigation continues.