Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department resources were pushed to the max in the early hours of Saturday while amidst helping with the Snowy Mountain wildfire, a storage building behind a restaurant caught fire.
Jordy Bosscha, fire chief for the department, said the call came in about 12:30 a.m. that a storage building behind the Branding Iron restaurant on Veterans Avenue and 6th Street was on fire.
“It was fully involved when we got there. There was a little bit of breeze, so some embers made their way to the Home Hardware Building Centre lot next door,” he said.
The owner of the Home Hardware, Jake MacDonald, was woken up and came and moved material, so firefighters could douse the area.
The yard of the Home Hardware lot is about 25 feet from where the tin building was ablaze, the only barrier is a high wire fence.
“Jake came in and started to move stuff around so he could salvage what he could. There was a couple of cedar fence panels and landscape ties damaged for sure and I don’t know what else,” he said.
About 20 firefighters were on scene for more than two hours fighting the fire. Also on scene was RCMP, ambulance and Fortis.
An excavator from Dutchie’s Transfer Ltd. was also used to knock down the structure.
Bosscha said a cause was unknown at the time of this posting although he was certain embers from the Snowy Mountain fire did not cause the blaze.
The storage building did have power, which Fortis shut off during the blaze.
“There was power into the building, so we will investigate and talk to the owners and see what they were last in there, and if anything electrical was running,” he said.
While still in the process of cleaning up and restocking the fire trucks, a call came in for both engines to go to Chopaka where the Snowy Mountain wildfire is threatening homes.
At the time of this post 13 firefighters were in Chopaka, two engines and the two bush trucks.
Bosscha could not comment on what was going on there as he was in the station.
Keremeos called in mutual aid and a truck from Kaleden and a crew are stationed in the hall for the time being.
“It’s always great knowing another department has our back. We go anywhere we are needed, if we have the manpower, and help out our fellow brothers and sisters and neighbours. We have a great mutual aid program. We all help each other out,” he said.
We will update this story as more information comes available.
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