UPDATE WEDNESDAY JULY 2 3:00 P.M.
The Merritt Fire Rescue Department is providing more details on the large fire that nearly destroyed two buildings in downtown Merritt Monday night.
Fire Chief David Tomkinson says that at approximately 8:33 p.m. Monday night the fire department responded to a report of a fire involving two commercial structures in the 2000 Block of Quilchena Avenue.
It was a regular training night at the Merritt fire hall which allowed them to immediately respond with two engines, a ladder truck and two command vehicles.
“The first firefighting units arrived on scene within minutes of the initial alarm and reported heavy smoke and fire between two large commercial buildings,” says Tomkinson.
“The blaze took several hours to contain and firefighters remained on the scene of the incident well into the next day due to extensive overhaul of the remaining structures.”
Two residents who lived in an upper storey apartment were displaced from their residence due to the fire and have been offered assistance through Emergency Social Services.
Businesses located on the ground floor of both structures suffered extensive water and smoke damage.
A firefighter was injured during the call and received musculoskeletal injuries which were treated on the scene.
“The fire posed some difficulties for our firefighters, at a point we had to remove them from their interior firefighting operations as there was concerns for the structural stability of the building’s roof once fire extended throughout its space,” adds Tomkinson.
A total of 32 firefighters responded to this incident with the support of the RCMP, British Columbia Ambulance Service, Emergency Social Services, BC Hydro and Fortis.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time
UPDATED 9:10 A.M.
A witness on the scene said there are still no reported injuries.
Six apartments and at least six businesses were destroyed in the fire.
All animals were rescued from the pet store, except for some goldfish which perished in the blaze.
More details to follow.
Check out this video of the aftermath of the fire:
A fire destroyed some businesses and apartments on Quilchena Avenue in Merritt last night.
The fire broke out just before 8:30 p.m. and quickly engulfed a pet store in flames.
A witness said that several other businesses and some apartments that were above suffered major damage as well.
Several buildings were evacuated and there have been no reported injuries at this point.
According to the witness, Merritt Fire Department spent several hours knocking the fire down, but downtown Merritt was still blanketed in smoke at 11 p.m.
Merritt Fire Department is still on scene.
More details to follow.
If you have pictures or video of the incident, please send them to [email protected]