The criminal investigation continues into the full circumstances of what was a rapidly evolving and very dynamic situation early Thursday morning. What began as a call to the local fire department for a blaze at a local apartment building, ended in the arrest of a very distraught man.
On June 3, 2021, just before 6 a.m., front line Kelowna RCMP officers quickly responded to an urgent call for help from the Kelowna Fire Department, who had responded to a complaint of a fire at an apartment building in the 1000-block of Harvey Avenue. Firefighters made the urgent request for police assistance, after they located an extremely distraught man inside the building with obvious injuries. After a brief confrontation between fire crews, the man who was observed to be armed with a knife and bear spray, subsequently barricaded himself inside a unit of the building.
“Concerned for the safety and wellbeing for the other occupants of the building firefighters and then front line officers took steps to evacuate residents, who were provided temporary shelter on public transit buses,” states Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, spokeswoman for the Kelowna RCMP. “RCMP worked diligently to provide cover and protection to firefighters who worked strategically to fight the fire and evacuate smoke from the building.”
A portion of Harvey Avenue was closed off, a detour around the scene was established and the area surrounding the building was cordoned off to allow first responders to safety deal with the situation.
The Southeast District Critical Incident Program’s Emergency Response Team was deployed to the scene, along with a Critical Incident Commander and a Crisis Negotiator.
The distraught and injured 67-year-old Kelowna man was taken into custody with the assistance of the tactical Emergency Response Team. The arrest was complicated by the challenging conditions at the scene, including smoke, water and of course a fire. He was immediately assessed at the scene by BC Emergency Health Services and transported to hospital for medical treatment and care. He has since been released from custody pending further investigation and could face charges.
“At this time, we believe that the injuries sustained by the man arrested were self-inflicted, and investigators are in the process of determining the cause of the fire in this building,” adds Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “We wish to thank everyone for their cooperation in avoiding the area while this incident was ongoing. Multiple of the front line RCMP officers who arrived on scene to assist fire crews in the first instance, were treated by emergency paramedics for smoke inhalation. Furthermore, a member of the Southeast District RCMP Emergency Response Team sustained a non-life threatening injury, which required medical attention at hospital.”
No further information is being released at this time.