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Fire guts former boat storage facility in West Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Structure goes up in flames on Gellatly Road in West Kelowna' Structure goes up in flames on Gellatly Road in West Kelowna
An old fruit storage facility on Gellatly Rd. that had been part of a boat sale and storage facility in West Kelowna has gone up in flames. Fire crews remain on the scene. – Dec 16, 2020

A large building in West Kelowna was engulfed in flames just before noon on Wednesday.

West Kelowna Fire Rescue crews were called to the 4000 block of Gellatly Road, along with RCMP and paramedics on standby.

Witness photos sent to Global News show large flames and thick smoke rising from across the roof of the concrete structure at a boat storage and sale business.

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West Kelowna fire rescue work on extinguishing a blaze on Gellatly Road on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy: Jason Brolund
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West Kelowna fire rescue work on extinguishing a blaze on Gellatly Road on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy: Jason Brolund
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West Kelowna fire rescue work on extinguishing a blaze on Gellatly Road on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy: Jason Brolund
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West Kelowna fire rescue work on extinguishing a blaze on Gellatly Road on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy: Jason Brolund

West Kelowna fire chief Jason Brolund says work being done to demolish the building sparked the insulation on fire.

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“Either way, the building would have come down today,” Brolund said.

Read more: Several bus shelters along Lakeshore Road in Kelowna vandalized

Brolund says the building was empty and all workers managed to exit safely as the fire begun.

The building was once a fruit storage facility and was repurposed more than a decade ago as a studio for film production.

In recent years, the property has been a space used for boat storage and sales across from the Gellatly Marina.

Click to play video: 'Fire at empty West Kelowna building being demolished' Fire at empty West Kelowna building being demolished
Fire at empty West Kelowna building being demolished – Dec 16, 2020

 

In a press release, West Kelowna Fire Rescue said “the cause of the fire was deemed accidental and was believed to be due to activities related to the demolition. Workers at the site made it out safely and there were no injuries to the public or to our firefighters.”

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The fire department noted that an excavator that was already on site to undertake the demolition was used to help extinguish the fire.

“This fire serves as a reminder to be cautious with activities that may produce sparks and cause a fire,” said the fire department.

“Workers should always have and practice a fire safety plan to ensure they know what to do when disaster strikes.”

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