Penticton, BC, Canada – Sprinkler system helps limits spread of fire in 75-year old building

A fire in Penticton’s Cannery Trade Centre was contained before it could spread through the heritage building.  John Cain, one of the owners, said there was no downtime for businesses located in the building. They were able to open Monday morning.

“Everybody has co-operated marvelously, and our tenants have been outstanding and understanding. Everybody is working,” said Cain. “Jill Bateman, the administrator, has been looking after this miraculously.”

Penticton firefighters were called to the Cannery, which houses a variety of businesses in the 75-plus-year-old building, at about 1 a.m. on June 25. They arrived to find alarms ringing and the sprinkler system activated.

When they entered the building, they also found smoke, which they were able to trace to the second-floor residence.  Crews were able to fight the fire from the interior and contain it to the area of origin, though it was scaled up to a third alarm. Capt. Dennis Smith of the Penticton Fire Department said that was because of the potential of the fire to grow into a major event, especially considering the size and age of the building.

“We were travelling right through the building,” he said. “We just called out some help sooner rather than later.

“It’s always a bit of a challenge to figure out what the structure is composed of when we are into those buildings. Especially an older one like that. It’s been here for decades, with lots of additions and alterations.”

Smith said the fire sprinkler system played a big part in helping contain the fire to a limited area. “We have fire inspections regularly, and I can tell you the building management down there is on top of things there as far as fire systems and maintaining their building,” said Smith. “That’s one of the reasons that fire was handled efficiently and quickly, and without a huge loss. The fire prevention aspects were all functioning well.

Smith said the fire appears to have started on the exterior of the building, spreading up through the soffit and into the attic. But the exact cause will have to come from the fire inspector, who was on scene Monday morning.

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