Platoon captain Tim Light said the fire was started from a torch on the roof and the fire got into the sawdust insulation.
Light said the firefighter is in “satisfactory condition” right now. There was one person inside the building but excavated the building. The owner also lives in the back of the building on the main floor.
“There’s lots of smoke damage in the upper floor… there was a quite a bit of fire damage inside the walls,” he said, adding there is also water damage.
The fire was contained to the roof and the walls.
“You find a lot of sawdust installation in older buildings, “it’s just one of the factors we deal with in our area,” he said. “The fire can travel between the buildings.”
Five engines, one ladder and rescue truck were on scene. Original Joes was evacuated as there was only one fire wall between the gallery and the restaurant, Light said.
Light said the explosion happened because of the lack of oxygen the fire had.
“When you get a dirty fire like this, the combustion isn’t complete. It’s so smoky, there isn’t enough oxygen in the confined area and sometimes when air is let in really quickly, it tends to complete the combustion process in a violent manner.”
Update: 1 p.m.
The fire has been reported to be under control. Ducky Down Down Quilts Adriaan Boek whose store is located directly across the street from the gallery, said he saw the smoke billowing last few days.
With heavy smoke billowing out he heard an explosion.
A Kelowna firefighter was taken to KGH as a result. He was seen walking after being attended to by paramedics. The extent of his injuries is not yet known.
Update: 12:40 p.m.
Miranda Frasz, who works at Original Joes beside from the art gallery, smelled smoke at around 12:10 p.m., she said, before fire trucks arrived.
“We thought smoke was coming from our building,” she said.
There are six trucks at the scene.
Update: 12:20 p.m.
An explosion which occurred in the top section of the building blew back a firefighter fighting the structure fire. The firefighter was assisted by paramedics. He was later seen walking with paramedics and was sent to KGH.
Pandosy Street is currently closed in both directions. Flames and smoke can be seen from the top section of the building. Part of the roof was also blown off from the explosion.
Emergency crews are responding to reports of a structure fire at Pope’s Gallery of BC Art and Photography on Pandosy Street.
The fire has been reported in one of the apartments above the gallery. The incident was reported just before 12 p.m.