Fire completely destroyed the Uncle Barry’s Treasures building in Clearwater on Friday night.
No one was injured in the blaze, according to deputy chief Guy Holland, the Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department spokesperson.
“No one was home at the time,” he said, “and despite some bad slips on the ice, none of the firefighters was hurt.”Cause and location of ignition of the fire has yet to be determined.
The fire department received the call at about 10:30 Friday evening. Fire chief Mike Smith was first on the scene and immediately determined that the building’s roof was entirely compromised.
“That meant there was no thought of going inside,” said Holland. “We settled into a defensive operation, flooding it with water. Protecting Fields (located beside the burning building) was our main concern.”
A total of 14 Clearwater members responded to the call and they brought with them four trucks from the hall.
Seven firefighters from Blackpool’s department responded as well under a mutual aid agreement. The Blackpool firefighters left their firetrucks in their hall but brought their turnout gear. They travelled to the scene in personal vehicles.
Having so many firefighters present meant there was a constant shuttle to the Clearwater firehall and back to recharge air cylinders, Holland said.
The department spokesperson estimated they pumped in the neighbourhood of 100,000 gallons onto the fire.“
We pumped a lot of water onto that building,” said Holland. “It had a heavy fuel load plus it was an older building.”
There were two three inch monitors going on two trucks, plus a number of 2 1/2 inch ground-lines.
With so much water, nearly all the firefighters’ turnout gear became soaked. They took turns warming up in the trucks and getting something to eat and drink.
District of Clearwater maintenance department made sure there was enough water available for the firefighting effort.
A backhoe from On Call Construction and Contracting helped tear down some walls.
BC Hydro turned off the power to the building.Argo provided sand to help prevent slipping on the ice.
Also on the scene were personnel from BC Ambulance and RCMP.
The firefighters left the scene and were back at the hall by 7:30 Saturday morning.
This was Clearwater’s first major structure fire since a house-fire on Bolduc Road about three years ago, said Holland.