Investigators can't find definitive cause of abandoned restaurant fire

By Tanya Cronin
January 8, 2018 - 5:08pm

KAMLOOPS — Fire investigators are still waiting to examine debris from a blaze that destroyed an abandoned building in Aberdeen Friday evening. The property, located on Pacific Way and Hugh Allan Drive had been sitting empty and unused for years, before fire ripped through the structure just before the dinner hour Friday. Since the flames were put out, the building has been deemed too dangerous and unstable for investigators to enter.

Flames could be seen shooting into the sky. Plumes of black smoke followed, billowing into a thick cloud.

"Our crews arrived and it was heavy black smoke, they tried to make entry and it was determined it was a very involved fire, heavily involved fire, so our command made the call at that point it was a defensive fire," says Fire Inspector Kevin Cassidy, Kamloops Fire Rescue.

The property at the corner of Pacific Way and Hugh Allan Drive went up in flames just before 5:30 Friday evening. The building, once home to the Brass Kettle and Juniper's restaurants, had been abandoned for more than a decade. Close to 20 firefighters battled the blaze and spent 12 hours at the scene.  

The fire was so intense it has made it too dangerous for fire investigators to examine the debris. While nothing is being ruled out, the cause of the blaze at this point is undetermined.

"It was determined it was structurally unstable and not safe for our investigators to go in and do a more thorough investigation, so we did a preliminary investigation around the perimeter of the building and it's determined to be human-caused."

With no gas, hydro or water to the building, fire officials believe the blaze to be human-caused but say it's too early to know if the fire was intentionally set. Property records show the land was sold by Tom Gaglardi's Northland Properties in November, to a Vancouver-based company.

It's been reported the building had been used off and on by squatters, but there were no reports of people in the area at the time of the blaze. Fire investigators are hoping to take a much closer look as soon as possible.

"We're looking at possibly further investigating with the possibility of machinery helping to assist us, but at this point it's still under investigation and undetermined," says Cassidy.

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