Hampered by gusting north winds and limited water supply, Naramata Volunteer firefighters struggled initially to contain a multi-alarm blaze that eventually destroyed the Plexus Wood Works shop at 780 Gulch Rd. in Naramata on Sunday (May 24).
At one point flames from the fire, which began mid morning, were sent soaring about 15-20 metres into the sky and threatened both the nearby residence, owned Rick and Harriet Grandbois, and another house on a hill above the structure.
Fortunately, the wind direction and the initial work of fire crews kept the fire from spreading to either house until backup help from Penticton, Summerland and Kaleden arrived.
“It’s the perfect storm, the perfect storm, wind and no water,” said Naramata fire chief Tony Trovao as he moved along the perimeter watching his firefighters doing their best to battle the blaze.
The business had been in operation for about 20 years, specializing in custom wood doors, flooring and tables using reclaimed wood.
One firefighter at the scene said the large beams used in the construction of the shop made the blaze particularly difficult to fight.
At this point the cause of the fire is not known, nor is it known if there were any injuries.
The nearest fire hydrant was about one kilometre away and crews were eventually able to string lines to the site of the fire, however, by that time most of the damage had already been done.
By about 1 p.m. most of the outside fire departments had left the scene leaving the Naramata volunteers onsite to mop up the hot spots.
A representative of the Ministry of Forests wildfire team was also at the fire in the event its services were required.