Valiant fire-fighting effort unable to save building

  • Mon Jun 21st, 2004 5:00am
  • News

By Mariah McCooey-The Trading Post, Sandspit’s everything store, burnt to the ground last week, on the evening of Thursday June 17.
“It was bad,” said an exhausted Reg Brady, fire chief, “a total loss. We just couldn’t slow it down.” Firefighters worked until midnight to contain the fire, but despite a valiant effort, were unable to prevent the building – and all the merchandise inside – from going up in smoke.
“It certainly is a loss to the community,” said Mr. Brady. “I think it’s just sinking in for people today. (Friday) (The Trading Post) was a focal point – they sold everything.”
Although the cause of the blaze has not been determined, Mr. Brady speculated that the age of the building could have been a factor, combined with the abundance of flammable items like paint.
A witness phoned the fire department at about 7 pm to report the blaze. Over the next 5 hours, firefighters pumped “about 20 truck loads” of water onto the building. Since Sandspit has no fire hydrants, they had to drive back and forth to the airport to refill the pumper truck. Mr. Brady said that they also had a saltwater pump from the ocean going but that it didn’t make much of a difference.
Another eyewitness Gerry Bellefleur said that it was “quite a bonfire,” and that the store was “pretty much levelled.” Nobody got hurt though, he said, which is what’s really important. “Stuff can be replaced,” he said.
The blaze could be seen from across the water in Skidegate, and apparently residents there were also calling the fire department from there. People even as far north as Wiggins Road saw the fire.
Store owner Carol Bowler, was doing “remarkably good” during the fire, said Mr. Brady, considering the circumstances. Her husband was away at the time, and they were unable to contact him with the news.