Osoyoos fire chief Ryan McCaskill said smoke was pouring out of the East Indian Meat Shop when he arrived on scene on Sunday after they received the initial call for assistance around 7:58 p.m.
“There was smoke billowing out of the building … I did a 360 of the building and noticed on the north east side there was a basement that drops down and it was actually two levels. We got an attack team down there and the smoke was so substantial we had to back off.”
As they were working on that section of the building, flames started to show near the roof on the other side.
“It was very windy last night and it was going through the attic access point and it was feeding the embers so it was burning quite good in there. I think it had been burning for quite awhile before we got there because it had gone up to the floor, completely collapsing that and then up into the attic. Because there was a metal roof it took awhile before the fire itself showed,” said McCaskill.
The fire chief said because the building is so unstable right now they were unable to do a full inspection themselves earlier this morning. A fire inspector is expected to bring in equipment later today to complete that. However, McCaskill said it appears that the origin of the fire was in one of the lower suites where some farm equipment and supplies were being stored.
McCaskill said it is believed no one was in the structure when firefighters arrived.
“The north end of the building is a complete loss, but towards the south the lower suites were fine and there was another shop or suite in the upper part there that didn’t appear to have damage.”
A fire started around 8:30 p.m. at the East Indian Meat Shop and fruit stand located at 10475 Highway 97 in Osoyoos on Sunday night.
Grant Grasby happened to be driving by shortly after the fire started and pulled over. Grasby said he was there for about an hour as crews battled against the blaze and that he believes the building was a complete loss.
The Penticton Western News will update this story as more information comes in.