Fire in downtown Merritt forces evacuation of several blocks

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A fire in downtown Merritt forced the evacuation of several blocks Monday night.

It broke out in the 2000 block of Quilchena Avenue at around 8:30 p.m. A pet store named Blooming Pets, a hair salon, and several apartment suites have been damaged – but there are no reports of any injuries. The extent of damage to the two buildings is presently unknown.

Large clouds of smoke quickly filled much of the town, and RCMP Cst. Dan Lachapelle said a two block-radius around the fire was evacuated as a precaution.

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There was concern about the wind potentially spreading the flames to other buildings.

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“It took some time to control the people and get them out of there this evening, but it’s calm now,” said Lachapelle.

As for the animals in Blooming Pets, all except the fish tanks – which were too heavy – were quickly evacuated. Lachapelle said a number of fireman and Good Samaritans were quick in rescuing the animals and making sure they had a new temporary home.

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