- BC Games
Police deem arson cause of blaze
Salmon Arm RCMP have confirmed a Sept. 9 fire at Pedro Gonzales Fruit and Garden Ltd. was the result of arson.
“We have established the source of the fire and are speaking to various witnesses with respect to their observations,” said Sgt. Carlos Tettolowski Monday. “I expect the investigation to last several weeks.”
Pedro’s co-owner Dale Ruth is happy to leave the investigation in the hands of police.
“The RCMP are doing a great job,” he says.
Shock and despair over the fire that destroyed a feed barn, half of the main sales building and the product inside, are turning to hope and gratitude for the whole family.
“Saturday was somewhat normal for us,” said Ruth of Pedro’s albeit limited opening. “It was very encouraging for us and I wouldn’t have expected otherwise – this town is amazing.”
Ruth says everyone connected to the thriving business has experienced a gamut of emotions.
“It has been an emotional rollercoaster,” he says of the first few days that were “powered by adrenalin” when everyone was scrambling to get organized. “There was so much to think about. “What about the lady that had ordered all that chicken feed? Just so much going through my mind.”
Like the other members of the family, Ruth is anxious to get back to normal as soon as possible, noting with satisfaction that more and more people, including young folks, are developing an interest in locally-grown produce – something that encourages the family to grow and sell the best produce they can.
“We’re still picking corn and apples and we have a commitment to our growers down south,” said co-owner Nicole Ruth last week, noting the kind words and encouragement offered by the many people stopping by and calling has helped energize the family to move forward.
“People are jumping in to help, dropping their day’s schedule to help us with power and water,” she said, noting how well the many small, local businesses stick together. “Other small businesses rely on us for their businesses and we’re trying to accommodate them.”
Also encouraging the Ruths are the 10 to 15 regular employees who have worked for the family for several years.
Pedro’s will remain open until late fall. The family plans to have the business completely up and running by next spring.