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Penticton  

Small fire at discount store

The owner of SmartShopper in Penticton is grateful a small fire that broke out in the store's attic area on Sunday did not spread.

The store is located in an old building on Main Street and the situation could have been much worse.

"We are very lucky the fire didn't cause any more damage, and we didn't lose any more product as a result," said Leigh Follestad.

Follestad said the fire originated from a water pipe which has heat tape running along its length to prevent the pipe from freezing.

The heat tape is only supposed to come on when it gets below zero, but for some reason the themostat on the unit failed and heated the foam insulation wrapped around the pipe to the point of ignition.

"At that point the heat melted the water pipe, but the pressure from the water pipe was enough to put the fire out," he said.

Staff first noticed something was wrong when they saw water coming out of the ceiling and smelled the smoke.

At that point, they called the fire department, said Follestad.

There is a hole in the ceiling where the fire was, and the owner is awaiting word on what the costs associated with the small blaze will be.

Just last month, Follestad experienced a theft at the store.

He was successful in finding the two shoplifters after a video of the theft went up on Facebook and YouTube.

The two are now doing labour jobs at the store through the Restorative Justice Program.

"It has been an interesting couple of months, that's for sure," he said.

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