Central Okanagan landmark destroyed by fire

·1 min read
Lake Country Fire Department crews battle a blaze early Thursday that destroyed a central Okanagan landmark, the landlocked sailboat along Highway 97.  (Steve Wilson / Lake Country Fire Department - image credit)
Lake Country Fire Department crews battle a blaze early Thursday that destroyed a central Okanagan landmark, the landlocked sailboat along Highway 97. (Steve Wilson / Lake Country Fire Department - image credit)

An overnight fire has destroyed a landmark central Okanagan sailboat and sign.

"I'm sure a lot of people will feel we lost an icon in the valley here," said Lake County Fire Chief Steve Wilson.

The 120-year-old landlocked sailboat has stood by Highway 97 for almost 40 years, used as a sign for the nearby Holiday Park Resort, but more familiar to residents as an unofficial roadside welcome to Lake Country.

Wilson says a passing ambulance crew spotted flames leaping into the night sky at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Lake County fire crews arrived to find the boat fully engulfed by flames. Two engines were unable to stop the fire from spreading through the thick timber hull and deck. The Kelowna Fire Department was called in to help battle the blaze.

Google Streetview image of  the sailboat before Thursday's fire.
Google Streetview image of the sailboat before Thursday's fire.(Google Streetview)

"We put quite a lot of water and we used foam on it," said Wilson. "In the end though, it was so heavily damaged the decks had collapsed into the boat, that we brought in the excavator and pulled it apart so that we could totally extinguish it."

Little now remains of the historic roadside attraction.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing.