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‘Do not occupy’ order issued for evacuated West Kelowna building

Roughly 150 tenants of a West Kelowna apartment building are being offered emergency support services for 72 hours after a “do not occupy” order was issued for the building.

The recently built 60 unit rental building on Elliott Road in Kelowna was initially evacuated around 4 a.m. Sunday after a mysterious chemical smell was detected.

There was originally hope that residents might be allowed to return on Sunday.

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However, by late Sunday afternoon, the source of the smell hadn’t been identified and West Kelowna Fire Rescue issued a ‘do not occupy’ order.

“West Kelowna Fire Rescue and regional hazmat team members have continued to search for a source, to no avail. However, crews continue to detect levels of concern through various areas of the building,” fire chief Jason Brolund said in a statement.

“No one may occupy the building until it has been made safe by the owner with the assistance of qualified professionals.”

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Earlier in the day, the developer, Ironclad Developments Inc., said in a statement it “fully supports the fire department’s decision to evacuate the building out of an abundance of caution and [temporarily] relocate residents.”

A reception centre for evacuees was set up at the Royal LePage Place Arena on Cameron Road and residents of the building are being asked to go there by 10 p.m. to register for emergency support services.

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The fire department said residents are being offered accommodations, food vouchers and support with incidental costs for up to 72 hours.

“The property owner will make arrangements for tenants after that time period,” Brolund said.

“West Kelowna Fire Rescue fire crews will remain on scene into this evening to assist evacuees by removing essential and critical items from the building (medications, identification, car keys). This can be arranged following registration at the [emergency support services] reception centre.”

– with files from Shelby Thom

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