Fire consumed a building in Alexis Creek on the Thanksgiving long weekend, despite the efforts of the RCMP and other residents who came to help.
“It was an intense, intense, fire,” said Corp. Blair Wood, of the North District RCMP who has been filling in at the detachment. “We called out all our available members and ended up with seven policeman attending, along with people in the community we were able to secure the scene.”
The structure, which last housed a Mexican restaurant and also had an adjacent suite which was occupied, burned to the ground overnight Saturday, Oct. 10.
One of the Alexis Creek RCMP members saw the El Tapatio Restaurant on Highway 20 was burning at 7:32 p.m. and at the same time received a call from the store across the street, said Wood.
The owner of the restaurant lived in the suite and was home at the time, but unaware the restaurant was on fire. Officers were able to get her safely away from the scene.
“Members attended. Unfortunately there is no fire department in Alexis Creek,” Wood told the Tribune Tuesday.
One of the members of the community had fire hoses so they hooked those up to the fire hydrant.
“But the fire was just to intense and is still smoldering this morning,” Wood said. “It got into behind the walls and it was predominantly a wood structure with just the tin on the outside. It was just a matter of containing it and keeping it from burning to the out building and other structures in the community.”
There is a garage directly next door which was not damaged.
The restaurant was for sale and had not been open for some time.
Emergency Health Services B.C. came out from Williams Lake to stage at the scene because of smoke inhalation.
Wood said the owner was brought to Williams Lake by an RCMP officer and is being taken care of by Emergency Social Services, he added.
Wood said the cause of the fire is under investigation and RCMP are asking the public to contact the Alexis Creek detachment at 250-394-4211 if they have any information.
Over the weekend the Catholic Church at Xeni Gwet’in First Nation was burned to the ground. That fire started some time overnight Saturday as well.
Former Alexis Creek resident Elaine Butler said the building was built in the early 1960s.
“The Purjue family had it for many years as a two-bay garage with gas pumps and small restaurant,” Butler told the Tribune. “It was taken over by Ernie Falardeau and after that I cannot remember as I left Alexis Creek.”
Butler said her maiden name was Lee and her family has Lee’s General Store and post office for about 87 years just down the road where the Alexis Creek tourist information centre is today.