A fire ripped through the Penticton White Spot early Friday morning, leaving the Main Street restaurant in ruins.
An investigation is currently being conducted into the cause of the blaze but officials are saying it doesn’t look suspicious.
About 30 members of the Penticton Fire Department raced to the scene after a call they received at 4:18 a.m. to salvage what they could, but significant damage had already been done with the roof collapsing shortly after their arrival.
Deputy fire chief Dave Spalding said the disaster could have been avoided if the building had sprinklers and an alarm monitored by the fire department.
“That’s what saves buildings and jobs,” said Spalding.
He said the investigation has determined the fire started in the northeast corner of the building where the kitchen is located.
“It’s a bad dream … everybody’s shocked,” said Al Mansfield, owner of White Spot.
Mansfield, who has been the owner for 12 years, said he has never even had a close call before.
“We just put in new equipment this past year,” he said.
About 40 employees and three managers will be out of work until the new restaurant is built, but those that can will be transferred to the Westbank location.
The fire resulted in Main Street and Rosetown Avenue being closed for several hours Friday morning.
No one was in the building at the time and surrounding buildings were not damaged.