PINANTAN LAKE — The Pinantan General Store burned to the ground overnight after a fire broke out just before 11 p.m. Wednesday.
“I was outside about to get some firewood and saw a bright orange blaze through the trees to the north,” said Tracy Gilchrist, who lives a short distance from the store, which is located on Harper Ranch Road.
“I had heard loud cracklings before that I thought were fireworks.”
She said she immediately went onto the community Facebook page and found the store was burning down. She arrived at the scene shortly before midnight.
“When I drove up, it was fully engulfed.”
Kamloops Rural RCMP were called to the store just before 11, Cpl Cheryl Bush said this morning. “A tenant residing in a suite at the store noticed smoke coming from the basement of the building and fled from their suite.”
Gilchrist said that with no fire department in Pinantan, she called the forest service but it doesn’t attend structure fires. Police and Hydro crews were on the scene, and traffic was stopped from going past the store due to propane tanks on the side.
There were also concerns during the night that power lines might be burned down, and that it might spread into forest. However, “Those gathered seemed quite calm that there is nothing but dead space adjacent to the store,” Gilchrist said.
She said no one knew how it started but there was apparently no one in the store at the time and no injuries have been reported.
“What a blow to the community,” she said of the loss of the store, which contained a general store, liquor store and postal outlet.
RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire.