The staff at Penticton Toyota said they are ‘devasted’ after a fire destroyed the dealership early Wednesday.
Fire crews were called out around 4:30 a.m. and the Penticton Fire Department said the fire quickly developed and plumes of smoke were visible across the city.
“It’s very hard to watch what you do, what you love to do and your life’s work burning down in front of you and that is a very almost unexplainable feeling,” said Penticton Toyota general manager Larry Pidperyhora Jr.
“They were able to get it under control and thankfully able to save our showroom and our main structure of the building. The building thankfully didn’t completely burn to the ground.”
At this time the cause of the fire is unknown, but an investigation is underway to determine how the fire started.
Crews were on scene for over four hours, working to put out hotspots and salvage items for the owners.
“We are in the salvage and overhaul phase. We are trying to recover valuables for the business owners, try and recover as much of that property as we can to help their transition,” said Penticton deputy fire chief Rob Trousdell.
Approximately 25 firefighters were on scene including crews from the Summerland department.
No one was in the building when the fire started but two firefighters did sustain minor injuries while battling the blaze.
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“My sincerest gratitude to the fire departments, these people are absolutely amazing. They were organized, strategic, calm, calculated and I credit them to no end,” said Pidperyhora Jr.
Meanwhile, the full extent of the damage is unknown, but Pidperyhora Jr. said that they plan to rebuild.
“Because of our resilience and our attitude and our persistence, we know that we will move forward and come up with a short-term plan to resume operations, some type of a triage setup and long-term build back even better than before,” said Pidperyhora Jr.
“I am going to assume the worst and hope to be surprised with something better.”
Pidperyhora Jr. went on to say that the community has already shown overwhelming support for his team.
“I have had other dealer colleagues in the business already reach out to us to lend any support that they possibly can, and which I cannot stress how grateful I am for.”
Penticton Toyota is asking for patience from customers as they figure out what their next steps will be.