Kelowna fire crews knock down massive automotive shop fire

Mopping up auto shop fire

UPDATE: 12:15 p.m.

The fire at Kelowna’s PM Automotive has been knocked down Sunday morning, although a large contingent of firefighters remain on scene to mop up and fully extinguish the large fire.

The massive amount of thick black smoke that was pouring out of the auto shop earlier Sunday has dissipated and the large flames coming from the roof have now been fully doused.

Kelowna Fire Department Platoon Captain Chris Zimmerman said the fire was particularly challenging to fight.

"This one was very challenging just because of the heavy fire load, especially due to the building and what kind of stuff we've got in it, being an automotive building. We could be dealing with gas and all sorts of accelerants," Zimmerman said.

"We deemed it a defensive fire right away, with the heavy fire load that we saw on arrival. So we haven't sent crews into it, we just basically knocked it down from the exterior. Right now we're just making the exterior somewhat safe before we send crews inside to complete extinguishment."

Zimmerman said the building is a complete write-off, with the entirety of the roof having burned. But he doesn't believe the fire extended into any of the adjacent buildings, despite the fire's size.

No one was injured and the RCMP are currently investigating the cause of the blaze.

"It does appear to have started on the east side of the building, but what it was, we're not sure," Zimmerman said.

A photo sent to Castanet earlier Sunday morning appears to show the fire burning in a large pile of tires on the east wall, before it extended into the building.

Zimmerman noted the Kelowna Fire Department was dealing with an earlier house fire when the call came in at 9:20 a.m. for the PM Automotive fire. Fire crews upgraded the call to a "third-alarm" fire upon their arrival.

UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.

Kelowna firefighters continue to fight the massive blaze at PM Automotive on Kent Road hard, hitting the fire with hoses from all angles, including from above.

Some flames are still visible from the roof of the auto shop and a massive amount of thick smoke continues to pour from the building, although as of 10:15 a.m., the smoke appears to be lessening somewhat.

The fire appears to have started at the east side of the building, in a pile of tires. The building is significantly damaged on its east wall.

ORIGINAL: 9:30 a.m.

After an early morning house fire, Kelowna fire crews are being kept busy once again Sunday morning with another fire off Spall Road.

The newest fire was sparked just after 9 a.m. at the end of Kent Road. The fire appears to be burning a number of stacked tires, a dumpster and a pickup truck and it appears to have spread to the nearby PM Automotive building.

Large amounts of black smoke from the fire are visible from across most of Kelowna.

Emergency crews are now on scene and firefighters are hitting the building with their hoses.

Castanet will update this story as more information becomes available.

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