Fire claimed the community of Big Lake’s only store on Sunday night.
The community is located about 25 kilometres south of Williams Lake.
Ray Bruneski, a Captain with Big Lake Volunteer Fire department, describes the scene when they arrived.
“We got the call at about 10-20 in the evening and the call was for smoke showing. So when we got there we saw smoke coming out of the attic portion of the whole building all the way along, so it was well established into the attic area.”
Bruneski says they entered the building immediately.
“There was just smoke showing, no flames showing, so we immediately made entry and started hitting the fire where we could but it was just so entrenched in the attic. We ended up putting 23 thousand gallons of water on it over the next, from 10-20 to about 3-30 in the morning, and then our hoses started freezing up so then we had to wrap them up and take them back to the hall. We kept two trucks on scene to monitor it.”
Bruneski says they managed to protect the gas pump, gas tank and a propane tank, but he says the rest of the facility was lost.
“It was a general store with a post office and a pub and a restaurant, it also has gas station pumps and propane tanks. So the whole building is lost. The gas pumps and the big gas tank and the propane tank, we protected those, but the whole building is lost. It’s a terrible tragedy for Big Lake.”
Bruneski says the store was built back in 1985 by Dave Harder and his family, and the current owners have had it for the last seven years and he says they have made a number of upgrades and improvements to it.
He says there were a lot of really tired fire fighters but no one was hurt.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.