Overnight fire at Salvation Army in Penticton causes damage and will impact operations

Salvation Army hurt by fire

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m.

Penticton's Salvation Army operations will be impacted by the loss of their van and their storage equipment after a fire tore through their property on Wednesday night.

"With the cost of vehicles this year, and who knows what insurance will do, you don't know those questions. Food banks are getting hurt all across Canada, quite frankly. And Penticton is no different than anyone else," said Paul Trickett, a major with The Salvation Army.

"If this has money coming out of our pocket, it's going to hurt us in the long run. And it'll hurt the community. We want to give people as much as we possibly can."

The organization is currently providing upwards of 200 grab-and-go bags of food and 20 to 30 family hampers a day.

"We are reaching out to other Salvation Army units across BC and asking if they have an extra truck that they're not using, which is not likely, but because we're such a large organization we're hoping that someone can step up."

With two drivers down to only one vehicle, Trickett said this will start to impact how much they'll be able to pick up.

"We'll make it work. We got through COVID, we'll get through this kind of stuff."

The outdoor apple bins that were burned will impact how much fresh produce they'll be able to carry as well.

While the organization has had windows smashed, supplies stolen, dealing with vandalism and their gas tanks punctured to siphon gas, this is the first time their property has been damaged by a fire.

Trickett said he thinks the fire started because someone was trying to keep warm and it got out of control.

"I don't think it was malicious. It's just the reality of the times, there are so many on the street right now," he added.

"My heart just goes out to the people that actually started the fire as well. I have a heart for the homeless too and I'm not blaming the homeless, it could have been malicious for all I know, but we don't know."

The annual Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign will soon be starting, along with food drives and the teddy bear toss, and this adds more to the growing need in the community.

"The reality is our tag is 'Giving hope today.' We give hope because the community gives us hope and they partner with us. We've been in Penticton for over 100 years and there's a reason we've been here more than 100 years. It's because people have partnered with us and made longevity last. So we really just asked for that and to just partner with us once again," Trickett said.

To find out how to donate or volunteer with the Penticton Salvation Army, visit their website here.

UPDATE: 10 a.m.

A fire Wednesday night at the Salvation Army on South Main Street in Penticton caused damage to a cube van, garbage bin and adjacent apartment building.

Fire crews were called to the location at 10 p.m. Seven firefighters were on scene, discovering the fire in the van, pallets and large dumpster.

There was one injury from the nearby apartment building. The person was treated by BC Ambulance Service, according to assistant fire chief Rob Trupp, who could not comment on the nature of the injury beyond that it was not burn-related.

The fire was quickly controlled by crews on scene.

As of Thursday morning, windows in the adjacent apartment appear to have been cracked from the heat.

RCMP have attended, gathering witness statements. The cause is still under investigation.

ORIGINAL: 6 a.m.

Fire broke out Wednesday night on South Main Street in Penticton.

Readers report hearing explosions and seeing flames in the area of the Salvation Army thrift store about 10 p.m.

It's not known at this time what caused the fire or the extent of the damage.

Penticton Fire Department has yet to issue any statement on the incident.

More Penticton News