Update: A fire in the Cascade Gardens townhouse complex is being called an arson, according to Fire Cheif Larry Watkinson.
“We have confirmation that the fire was set (deliberately),” Watkinson said.
“We’re now in the investigation phase and insurance and security companies have taken ownership.”
The RCMP has one person in custody following the incident.
A three-alarm fire affecting four townhouse units at Cascade Gardens on Thursday evening is believed to have started from a domestic dispute.
Penticton Fire Cpt. Ken Younghusband confirmed that one person was taken away by RCMP.
Residents who gathered outside to watch the firefighters work said people were heard arguing around 8:30 p.m. in one of the the townhouse units minutes before the fire started.
Firefighters continued to work on the four buildings early Friday morning.
“We made really good progress on the fire. It has taken us a long time and it was a difficult fire,” said Younghusband. “We had to pull everyone out of the building at one point because we had a floor collapse and some other weak spots in the building that we were concerned about. We had to take the firefighters out because it wasn’t safe.”
Younghusband said it was a challenge because the point of origin was in a basement, only allowing them limited access.
“All the units have been affected by the fire. It did make its way into some of the other units,” he said.
Firefighters were seen drilling holes into the exterior of the buildings around 5 a.m. to push water into walls where they were still battling hot spots.
“Now that we have it really knocked down and are just chasing some hot spots we are able to get back in to assess,” said Younghusband.
Smoke billowed out of the four units around 11 p.m. and firefighters deployed the truck ladder.
“We had managed to knock down the fire before it breached the roof so we were just up there to protect it. If it did breach it could have been an even bigger problem,” said Younghusband.
By 6:30 a.m. there was still 10 firefighters on scene with the hotspots “substantially extinguished.”