Future unknown for Vernon property wrecked by massive fire

It's unknown how long a mess of ash and rubble will be sitting on 48 Avenue, or what will be rebuilt there after a fire gutted government offices and a foot clinic June 30, 2015.

VERNON - A burned out lot in the City of Vernon where government offices and a podiatry clinic used to be, could be sitting empty for a while.

The building was destroyed in a massive fire June 30, displacing workers at the Ministry of Social Development workers and the podiatry clinic, North Okanagan Foot and Ankle.

The ministry has temporarily relocated to Service B.C. but spokesperson Corinna Filion says they are actively seeking a new location.

“The ministry is currently in the process of looking for a permanent office location in Vernon and hopes to sign a lease as soon as possible,” Filion says.

In the meantime, computers have been brought in to Service B.C. so ministry workers can continue printing cheques and assisting clients.

The Vernon Fire Department has investigated the blaze and determined there is no way to know for sure what caused it. Deputy fire chief Lawrie Skolrood says the department is finished its work at the scene and no longer needs it kept intact for investigative purposes.

“It’s been turned over to the insurance company who are maintaining security,” Skolrood says.

From the fire department’s standpoint, the building can be knocked down any time, although that decision is in the hands of the insurance company, and the owner, Skolrood says, adding the parties may still try to recover some contents from inside the building. The property remains blocked off with a security fence. 

Darryl Payeur, general manager of Bannister GM, the owner of the building, refused an interview about future plans for the property. He wouldn’t say when, or if, it will be rebuilt.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724. 

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