"I'VE DETERMINED NOT TO LET IT RUIN ME."
KEREMEOS - Fire destroyed an uninsured pet grooming business early Monday morning but its owner vowed to keep working from her home.
The Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department got the call to attend The Paw Spa around 1:30 a.m. When they arrived they found the 7 Avenue building burning up.
Paw Spa owner Jennifer Montgomery said the fire appears to have started in the building's rear rental unit. The occupant got out in time but the flames reached the building's attic.
Montgomery learned these details about the fire hours after it happened. Her spouse found out first and woke her up at 6 a.m. She arrived on scene about 15 minutes later to see her two-month-old business destroyed. She learned heavy equipment was used to bring the building down.
Montgomery said she lost about $5,000 in renovations, nearly $10,000 in equipment and all her customer information and scheduling. The only thing to survive was a clipper that was out for repairs.
She said she was devastated and saddened by the news but she's not planning on quitting.
"I've determined not to let it ruin me. Everybody has been great. My other friends, groomers, gave me a pair of scissors and someone else has (loaned) a table."
She's updated her Facebook page to include her home address and home phone number. She plans on working from her home until she can find a new place to set up shop.
"Just whatever I can do at my kitchen sink."
She said she won't make the same mistake twice and plans on getting insurance whenever she opens a new shop.
Keremeos Fire Chief Jordy Bosscha said Monday morning's fire was very different the one on Saturday night.
Bosscha said Monday morning. Flames could seen shooting out the back and black smoke was pouring out of the front.
He said the crews tried to gain access to the attic but the space was sealed off. Heavy equipment was used to tear the building open to get at the flames before they could spread to the structures on either side.
The other issue was the cold he said. "Things were starting to freeze up, airpacks were freezing up and the turnout gear was (already) wet," he said from the previous fire on Saturday.
The running and spraying water turned the road and the sidewalks to ice. Access to the area was blocked off. When firefighters left the scene at 6 a.m. a Keremeos village sander came in and sanded the area.
The B.C. Liqour Store is adjacent to The Paw Spa and was damaged by smoke, manager Deanna Pereira said.
Pereira was notified of the fire by a 4 a.m. phone call from the RCMP. She said the burning building was gutted by flames and later, further crushed by heavy equipment.
The liqour store is currently waiting for a restoration company to deal with the smoke. Pereira does not know when the liquor store will re-open.
For Saturday's fire the crews arrived on scene around 7 p.m. to find flames coming out of the second floor of the Riverbed and Bistro building.
Bosscha said the fire was contained to two hallways and two of the four apartments. The bistro itself suffered only water and smoke damage.
The fire chief said that fire's investigation has been turned over to the RCMP. The Paw Spa fire was determined to be accidental.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @InfoNewsPentict.
- This story was updated at 4:40 p.m., Feb. 3, 2014 to include an interview with the Keremeos Volunteer Fire Chief.
- This story was updated at 2:01 p.m., Feb. 3, 2014 to include an interview with the owner of the destroyed business.
- This story was updated at 11:33 a.m., Feb. 3, 2014 to include information from neighbouring business operators.