May 25, 2015 - 2:29 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton and other community firefighters were busy this past weekend following a Sunday morning a massive blaze in Naramata that devastated a long running business in that community.
Naramata firefighters were called to the scene of Plexus Woodworks, located at 780 Gulch Rd., at approximately 9 a.m. Sunday, May 24. When they arrived they found the 4,500 square foot Plexus shop engulfed in flames. Firefighters were forced to shuttle water, resulting in a call to outlying fire departments for equipment and assistance. A mutual aid response was provided by Summerland, Penticton and Kaleden fire departments.
Plexus owner Rick Grandbois said Monday he has no idea what triggered the blaze.
“I was up top when I saw smoke,” he said, gesturing to a nearby hillside.
By the time he got to the shop, the blaze was well underway. Other family members were already doing what little there was that could be done. With a strong wind fanning the flames and a full fuel load — the building was full of lumber — the blaze quickly became an inferno. Fortunately, winds were blowing away from nearby exposures. Huge amounts of smoke could be seen from miles away for part of the morning.
Naramata firefighters were on scene until approximately 10 p.m. last night.
The woodworking shop turned out custom doors, furniture and wide plank flooring, employing three journeymen and a labourer. Grandbois says he started the business from scratch 20 years ago.
“I began with a tent and a table saw. It’s all gone,” he says, surveying the charred roof timbers and burnt machinery. “It was a beautiful shop, but what really saddens me is losing such good men. This was such a good team that worked here.”
Grandbois says he doesn’t plan to rebuild the business.
“I'm going to do something different. This is going to push me into something new and that could be a good thing,” he says.
Penticton firefighters also answered a call to another structure fire on Secrest Avenue later Sunday. Penticton Fire Chief Wayne Williams says a box sitting on the kitchen stove ignited after one of the residents turned a burner on. He says the residents managed to knock the fire down with blankets prior to the department’s arrival. Penticton fire crew ensured the fire was out and helped clear smoke from the building. Residents were checked over in hospital and spent the night in other accommodations.
The shop of Plexus Woodworking was devastated by Sunday's fire. Owner Rick Grandbois said he had no plans to rebuild.
(STEVE ARSTAD /InfoTel Multimedia)
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