The small community of Bella Bella, B.C. has been left reeling last Friday morning after a fire destroyed their only grocery store which contained a post office, cafe and liquor store.
The local fire crew and volunteers worked hard at keeping the fire contained, says Bella Bella RCMP Sargent Glen Caston. Bella Bella is an isolated community on the central coast north of Queen Charlotte Strait and is home to the Heiltsuk First Nation.
There were concerns that three large fuel tanks below the Band store, which provides the community with fuel for home heating, boats and cars, would catch fire and explode. Residents said people located in the potential fuel tank blast radius were evacuated from their homes early this morning.
“The fire is still smoldering as there could be a false wall inside the building, which is making the fire harder to put out completely,” says Bella Bella Fire Chief Sunny Hunt.
Hunt says plans have been put in place to get food to the community with a barge set to arrive at Bella Bella on Sunday; which will be bringing two times the amount of food. A temporary store will be set up in the community hall and the community of Shearwater; which is across the sound does have some food to help Bella Bella.
A community planning meeting is in place and Bella Bella RCMP say the investigation into how the fire started is ongoing.