KAMLOOPS — A day after a fire burned the Copper Island Inn & Pub in Scotch Creek to the ground, the community is coming together to offer support for the owners.
The pub and motel was built in 1973 and since then has served as the central gathering spot for residents of the small community.
While the blaze is likely to leave a big financial blow to the community, the owners say it's the memories that make the blaze so devastating.
Flames still burn where a fire tore through the Copper Island Inn & Pub in Scotch Creek on Thursday, residents of the tight-knit community visiting the site Friday to see the wreckage.
"It hurts because we don't have a lot and to lose something like this, it's a big loss for us," said longtime customer Doug Mackinley.
"It's a pity. It was certainly a fixture for a lot of years and it's going to be missed," said longtime customer Brett Bradstock.
The pub caught fire just before 4 p.m. Thursday, with the more than 40-year-old business fully engulfed by the time crews arrived on scene.
"The explosion was powerful enough that people a block or two away felt it," said Brian Gidyk who lives nearby. "The flames were like a BBQ on fire times 100 it was quite stunningly shocking."
Chase RCMP have deemed the fire accidental and say it's believed to have started in the chimney.
Tor Penaluna, whose parents bought the pub in 2005, called the incident a blow to the entire community.
"It’s kind of a central hub for the town. It’s not just a pub to go drinking in it’s a community place where everybody comes to share stories and gossip. Just a warm environment, everybody knows everybody in the town, everybody gets along really well."
The pub held Thanksgiving dinners, Lions Club fundraisers and social gatherings throughout the years.
Tor and his wife Terran were married on site this past summer.
"That alone was somewhere where I wanted to keep coming back to on my anniversary," said Terran Petaluna. "I can't do it now, so that sucks."
For Doug Mackinley, who frequented the pub on a regular basis, the fire is also a huge financial hit for the summer tourist community.
"We don’t have a restaurant in town at this point in time. We are going to get one apparently so that’s good news. We have the store and that’s what we got now.," said said Mackinley.
The building was insured but the family hasn't yet decided on rebuilding.
In the meantime, they say they appreciate the support from family and friends.
"Everybody has welcomed us with open arms, open doors, open everything so we feel loved," said Terran Penaluna.
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