Year in Review: A year of fires, suspicious and tragic in Penticton

An arson fire completely destroyed the Penticton Toyota dealership in May. The black plume of smoke could be seen across the city. Two were arrested for the arson but charges have not been formalized. (Facebook)An arson fire completely destroyed the Penticton Toyota dealership in May. The black plume of smoke could be seen across the city. Two were arrested for the arson but charges have not been formalized. (Facebook)
Historic Warren House was destroyed by fire in March 2022. (Monique Tamminga Western News)Historic Warren House was destroyed by fire in March 2022. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
A suspicious fire set in a dumpster destroyed 2 vehicles and a hedge and nearly caught the building on fire in April. Witnesses saw a man at the dumpster just before the fire was set. (File photo)A suspicious fire set in a dumpster destroyed 2 vehicles and a hedge and nearly caught the building on fire in April. Witnesses saw a man at the dumpster just before the fire was set. (File photo)
The Penticton Salvation Army truck set on fire Oct. 26. Another fire was suspicious at Salvation Army a couple weeks later. (Denairo Raposo photo)The Penticton Salvation Army truck set on fire Oct. 26. Another fire was suspicious at Salvation Army a couple weeks later. (Denairo Raposo photo)
An elderly couple died from a fire that erupted in their Lakeshore Drive apartment Dec. 10. (Monique Tamminga Western News)An elderly couple died from a fire that erupted in their Lakeshore Drive apartment Dec. 10. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

The year 2022 was one filled with fires, both suspicious and tragic. From the historic Warren House exploding, to the Toyota Penticton arson fire to ending the year in tragedy when a couple died in an apartment fire on Lakeshore Drive.

WARREN HOUSE

On Monday afternoon, March 7, the community suffered a huge heritage loss on Lakeshore when a grand piece of Penticton history was destroyed in a gas explosion.

The Warren House, a stately, beautiful legacy home built in 1912 collapsed in a ball of fire, taking with it 110 years of history and memories. It was built for the affluent Kettle Valley Railway president J.J. Warren.

All that is left of Warren House is a mound of charred wood and rubble that has remained an unsightly mess for the past nine months. The owners of the Warren House had issues with insurance to help pay for removing the debris.

The city gave them two or three extensions to remove the debris before having to take on the task themselves this month. The city will bill the owners the $45,500 cost to remove it.

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

SUSPICIOUS FIRE DESTROYS 2 CARS, ALMOST IGNITES APARTMENT

Two vehicles and a hedge were destroyed in a suspicious dumpster fire in a Penticton neighbourhood on April 19.

Around 7 p.m., Penticton Fire Department was called out to the back alley of the 700 block of Government Street. Quick response time put out the fire that easily could have spread to the neighbouring building.

Penticton RCMP is also investigating the fire. The video taker and some other nearby residents took to Facebook to say that a man with a red hat and blue BMX bike was seen at the dumpster shortly before the fire broke out. Police searched for him but didn’t find him.

READ: Suspicious fire destroys 2 vehicles, nearly spreads to residential units

TOYOTA ARSON

The Penticton Toyota dealership was destroyed after a “major” fire tore through the building at 4:35 a.m. on May 11.

Five trucks from Penticton and Summerland arrived to smoke and flames at the rear end of the building.

The next day, two were arrested after an investigation found that the Toyota dealership fire in Penticton was intentionally set. RCMP made the arrests on Thursday May 12, after a short investigation, according to Supt. Brian Hunter.

“Penticton RCMP General Investigative Section has made quick progress on this investigation and has identified and arrested two persons believed responsible,” he said. But Crown has yet to approve the charges against the two individuals.

READ MORE: 2 arrested for Toyota arson

SUSPICIOUS SALVATION ARMY TRUCK FIRE

The Penticton Salvation Army is without one of its vital services after one of its two trucks was set on fire Oct. 26.

Salvation Army Major Paul Trickett said they were called to the Salvation Army on South Main Street at 10 p.m.

“We believe it was a homeless person trying to keep themselves warm and things got out of control. We don’t think it was malicious. It’s the reality of the situation in Penticton with so many living on the streets,” said Trickett. “My heart goes out to the community, because I know this is going to affect our service.”

Two weeks later, another suspicious fire damaged a Sea-can and fence near where the first fire occurred.

VIDEO: Fire destroys Salvation Army truck

4 SUSPICIOUS FIRES NEAR PARKER’S

Four suspicious fires set behind Parker’s Chrysler in Penticton in the early morning hours of Nov. 2 threatened nearby homes and the dealership’s building.

All four incidents occurred between Main Street and Atkinson Street, with the nearest fire set 20 feet away from the dealership.

Jim Tabler, the general manager of Parker’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership, says the building itself escaped without damage.

“Thankfully, our full-time night security saw what was happening and notified the fire department,” he said. “Without them, this could have been much different.”

ELDERLY COUPLE DIE IN APARTMENT FIRE

BC Coroners Service confirmed they were investigating two deaths following an apartment fire on Lakeshore Drive Dec. 10.

An elderly man was found dead at the scene on Dec. 10. The elderly woman was also found in the second-storey unit and taken to Penticton Regional Hospital for smoke inhalation-related injuries, police said at the time.

The woman rescued from the apartment fire and taken to hospital died a few days later, confirmed the BC Coroners Service.

The cause of the fire is not known. The blaze displaced at least 10 people from that apartment.

READ: Second senior dies from fire

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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Year in Review