An early morning fire at the South Okanagan Secondary School has reportedly engulfed much of the structure.
Oliver Fire Department Retired Fire Chief Richard Simmons says the blaze at 10332-350 Avenue reportedly started at approximately 2 a.m. on September 12.
"There's about 30 guys on scene," says Simmons, noting that additional manpower has been called in from Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls.
Oliver Mayor Pat Hampson says much of the building was engulfed by the time he arrived on scene at 3 a.m.
"The south side from the Frank Venables auditorium to the old gymnasium was burning. It was such a huge fire that there was just not enough water," says Hampson.
Hampson says it was devastating to see the auditorium, which was saved from demolition by the town, go up in flames.
"This is a real tragedy for the community."
Hampson says the fire will have an economic and emotional impact on the community.
The emotional impact is already being felt by Parent Advisory Council member Margie Mathieson,
"I think we are all devastated. I feel sick, that appears to be the same for many others. Just many drawn, tired and sad faces," says Mathieson.
SOSS serves students from Oliver and surrounding communities.
If you have pictures or video of the fire please send them to [email protected].
Castanet's Kelly Hayes reports