UPDATE: Fire destroys Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Fire destroys Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna

Rutland's Olympia Greek Taverna was badly damaged by fire last night, Oct. 6, 2020.
Original Publication Date October 07, 2020 - 7:36 AM

A fixture of Kelowna's Rutland neighbourhood was lost overnight as fire destroyed the Olympia Greek Taverna restaurant.

This morning, Oct. 7, the flames and smoke are gone and firefighters were mopping up, but the restaurant, at 145 Highway 33, was extensively damaged. The fire closed part of the road while as many as seven fire trucks and 28 to 30 firefighters tackled the blaze. Kelowna RCMP and B.C. Ambulance were on scene last night until this morning.

The fire started at the back of the building and was discovered by people passing by at about 11 p.m. yesterday, Oct. 6, Deputy Fire Chief Larry Hollier said. They notified staff who were inside at the time, although the restaurant was closed. They all managed to get out safely.

There was heavy smoke pouring out to the building when crews arrived and initially launched an offensive attack, meaning they went inside the restaurant. That changed when HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units started falling through the roof trusses, he said.

Officials won't speculate on the cause of the fire as investigators from the fire department and RCMP are on the scene today. It's expected they will be looking for the cause of the blaze for most of the day.

The restaurant first opened 48 years ago and has been in that location since 1973.

Owner Mike Koutsantonis had been at the scene of the fire all night. 

"I don't know if it's sunk in yet," Koutsantonis said. "It's been a long night already."

He said he has lots of work ahead of him but at this point his plan is to rebuild in the same location.

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for the Koutsantonis family. 

Christine Greer is the organizer and said on the GoFundMe page she wants the well known establishment to be back up and running as soon as possible.

"I would like to see us get behind Mike, his family and his staff to show we care... they have helped so much in the community and just need to be shown how much we value having them in our day-to-day lives," Greer said in the post.

— This story was updated at 9 a.m., Oct. 7, 2020 to add comments from Deputy Fire Chief Larry Hollier.

— This story was updated at 11:17 a.m. Oct. 7, 2020 with information about a GoFundMe campaign.

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