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Early morning business fire

Update -- May 29, 8:45 a.m.

A small fire that started in the attic of Westwood Fine Cabinetry has damaged a portion of their factory on Leckie Place, but management says it will soon be business as usual.

Fire crews were alerted early Thursday morning after an employee working the second shift called 911 just before 1 a.m.

Smoke was visible as firefighters arrived, and crews found some embers and flames in the attic, but luckily that space has a sprinkler system that automatically activated.

“The sprinklers in the attic came on and about 2,500 square feet of ceiling got damaged,” says general manager Gerry McParland.

That only represents around five per cent of the 45,000 square foot warehouse, and he says fire fighters decided to pull that part of the ceiling down to better access the blaze.

“It didn’t fall down, they actually pulled it down,” he says.

“And then this morning they advised me there is no structural damage, (but) there is some scorching of beams.”

The portion of ceiling that was accessed did come down onto an important piece of machinery – one of five automatic drilling machines that are computer controlled, but McParland stresses they can easily work around that issue.

“We were very lucky. All of our hard work and doing our fire inspections, keeping our ducts clean (of dust), making sure the back of house is clean, making sure the exhaust systems are operating, making sure our employees are trained – they’re the ones that spotted it.”

Fire investigators will be back on scene later today and McParland hopes they’ll be able to determine a cause.

In the meantime, all employees have been given a brief outline of the morning’s events and all lead hands have been kept on the job to help clean up. The rest of the staff will be back tomorrow when limited production is expected to resume.

The factory showroom is open and all scheduled appointments will be going ahead as planned.

A restoration crew will also be on hand to clean up the water and debris.

Ironically enough, the company had just issued its latest Fire Safety guide last week.


Original story -- May 29, 6:20 a.m.

Kelowna Fire Department responded to a fire in the attic space of Westwood Manufacturing early Thursday morning.

On arrival smoke was observed coming from the building, the alarms and sprinkler system had been activated. 

Crews discovered some embers and flame in the attic. The sprinklers in the affected area were operating, they prevented the fire from spreading. However the water from the sprinklers caused part of the ceiling to collapse, dropping gyproc, insulation, and water onto the wood and cabinet products below the collapse. 

Significant water damage occurred to parts of the 54,000 square foot building located in the 2100 block of Leckie Place. 

The fire cause is currently under investigation and by the time Kelowna Fire Department left the scene a restoration company had arrived to start the cleanup of the manufacturer floor of all the standing water. 

A total of 17 Firefighters were called to the location. 

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