Police are investigating a fire that destroyed a bank in the Shuswap early Sunday.
Fire Chief Brian Lauzon, chief of the Chase Fire Department, reports that firefighters were called at 4:10 a.m. Aug. 12, and found the ATM vestibule at the front of the RBC Royal Bank in Chase fully engulfed in flames.
“Flames were shooting out of the window by the ATM machine,” he says, explaining that firefighters attacked it aggressively and managed to knock down the blaze before it devoured the floor above.
“It almost went into the second floor. It started burning the carpet in the lawyer’s office upstairs, and we knocked it down before it got worse.”
Lauzon says the area of origin was the front entranceway at 746 Shuswap Ave. where the automatic teller machine is, but he did not speculate on the cause.
“It’s still under investigation, the RCMP will look into the matter, look at the security cameras and help determine the cause.”
Police and ambulance crews also responded to the blaze.
Lauzon estimates it will be “months” before the building will be operational.
“There are a lot of structural components that need to be reinforced. Basically the whole bank will have to be rebuilt with all the smoke and water damage.”
No one was injured in the blaze.
In true small-town fashion, the firefighters received lots of support from the community.
Lauzon reports that a nearby restaurant brought them coffee, while the Chase Curling Club, holding a pancake breakfast, provided them with pancakes.
“It was awesome,” he says.
He commends the 12 firefighters who responded and “did a good job.”
The scene has been cordoned off and is now under the watch of security personnel.
Chase, situated between Salmon Arm and Kamloops off the Trans-Canada Highway, boasts a population of about 2,200 people. Lauzon says it’s been several years since there was a fire downtown.