One person dies in fire at motel in Valleyview

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
February 29, 2012 01:00 AM

Capt. Sheldon Guertin pulls hose outside the Tournament Inn Wednesday morning along the Valleyview frontage road.

Police and fire inspectors continue to probe the cause of a deadly fire at a Valleyview hotel.

A tenant at the Tournament Inn phoned 911 at about 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. Fire and Rescue assistant chief Dave McMahon said smoke was pouring from Unit 26 when crews arrived.

It was only after firefighters extinguished the flames that a body was discovered amongst the damage, said McMahon

"We have had a fatality," McMahon told reporters during a press conference. He was unable to elaborate further, saying the investigation is now in police hands.

RCMP Const. Bernie Ward said a Kamloops man died in the blaze. He didn't know the man's age and wouldn't reveal the man's name until next of kin was notified.

"The investigators will be working with the B.C. Coroner's Service to determine the cause of death," said Ward, citing an ongoing investigation.

The entire hotel was cordoned off with police tape while RCMP and firefighters tended to the scene.

Tournament Inn owner Amy Dhasa said the room was rented to a Robert Hall, who lived there with a woman.

"They lived together here for a year," she said. "They are good people, very nice people."

A man who identified himself only as a son of the deceased met with police and firefighters. He would only tell reporters that his dad had died.

Unit 26's front windows are smashed and the frames burned black. A collection of furniture and other personal items are stacked outside.

"We called her the hoarder," said Barry, a resident at the Tournament Inn.

He said a man and woman lived in Unit 26, but had never spoken to them.

McMahon said the room was full of clutter, which made it difficult for firefighters to battle the flames and conduct a search.

Barry didn't know a fire had started until Fire and Rescue arrived at the hotel. He was watching TV at the time, he said.

Knowing someone died in the building where he lives is upsetting, he said.

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