There were no injuries but two buildings in downtown Merritt will likely have to be demolished because of a large fire.
The blaze broke out at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, gutting six residential rental units in one of the buildings.
Only two of the suites were occupied and the tenants escaped safely.
The other building was home to the Merritt Masonic Lodge.
“The whole roof of this building is gone, the interior floor is gone, the whole hall is just water damaged and destroyed,” says lodge spokesperson Mohammed Mahdi.
Smoke and water damage has forced the closure of three businesses including a hair salon and pet store.
“We got the animals out alive. The firefighters did an awesome job and managed to get them out the back door,” says Blooming Pets owner Sue Anderson.
The fire started in a foot-wide gap between the two buildings with a draft pushing the flames up the exterior walls into the roofs.
The cause hasn’t been determined but the fire chief says there’s no reason at this time to believe it’s suspicious.
The two building are insured and the owners say they plan to rebuild.
A damage dollar estimate is not yet available.