Update: 12:31 p.m.
Okanagan Falls fire chief Rob Oliver said it is sadly becoming a regular visit for the volunteer department to a business that had, what he estimates, their fourth fire over the past few years.
Fire chief Rob Oliver said “there was lots of flames shooting everywhere” when they arrived to the OK Falls Barber Shop on Highway 97 around 3:45 a.m. on Monday.
“The barber shop was totally engulfed and it had spread to the building next door and had a good hold on it before we got there,” he said. “You could hear propane bottles going off, it was pretty intense.”
The height of the neighbouring residence, along with tight passageways due to the amount of items in the back and smoke all posed a challenge to the fire crew. However, Oliver said they had a four-person crew from Kaleden assist them in the attack and managed to get a hold of it quickly.
“No one was home at the time so they were lucky. We’ve had four fires there over the past couple years, a couple of minor ones and a major one in the back of the business last year,” said Oliver.
The fire chief said RCMP are also investigating the blaze.
Highway 97 between Ash and Cedar streets is now open according to Drive BC.
Traffic on Highway 97 through Okanagan Falls had to be detoured this morning while firefighters dealt with a structure fire between Ash and Cedar Streets.
The blaze started around 3:45 a.m., and is believed to have ignited at the same place where an October fire happened in the back of a business and jumped to the residence beside it.
No injuries were reported, but both the OK Barber Shop building and the neighbouring residence are “complete write-offs” according to the firefighters.
As of this posting, Highway 97 remains closed in both directions with a detour via Willow Street and 10th Avenue. It is expected to be reopened by about 8 a.m.
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