Restaurant owners and apartment tenants who escaped from a destructive fire with only their clothes must wait for further inspections to take place before they can return to the Departure Bay Road building.
Fire inspectors, an electrical inspector and private investigators were all on the scene at the 1400 Wingrove St. building on Monday, trying to determine the cause of the fire, which displaced people from their homes and businesses on Saturday morning.
The fire caused severe water and smoke damage to the building.
Fire Prevention Officer Rick Kwasnecha said it could be a few days before the cause of the fire is known because all parties involved in the inspection need to go through the scene in detail, then meet and compile information.
Kwasnecha said power to the entire building is now shut off, and turning it on to let tenants back in before crews inspect all mechanical and electrical-related equipment could put people in danger.
"Some of the suites above are just smoke-damaged, so they'll probably be able to get in sooner than anyone else," he said.
"But the businesses will be out of service for a while."
Assistant Fire Chief Martin Drakely confirmed Sunday that renovations or repairs were happening in the building on Saturday, which may or may not be linked to the fire.
The 10 building residents were able to get out safely on Saturday, although three were taken to the hospital with minor smoke inhalation after doing so - all are now staying with friends and family. Drakely confirmed that the apartment building tenants, who have been dealing with
Emergency Social Services, had insurance.
Amrikko's owner Savita Tugnait said the restaurant was insured also although the restaurant remains closed for the foreseeable future.
The neighbouring fish and chips restaurant, attached to Amrikko's, as well as the Sand Dollar Cafe are also closed indefinitely.
Tugnait wants to get in the building as soon as possible so she can start renovations, but Kwasnecha said it's unlikely that will happen soon. She has been operating Amrikko's out of her other restaurant, Bollywood North, which is inside the Best Western Hotel at 6450 Metral Drive. The restaurant has started a home delivery service since the fire, and is still offering dine-in and takeout at 250-729-7922.
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