The grist mill is located at 2136 Leckie Place in Kelowna, B.C. (Photo - Jen Zielinksi)

Kelowna’s historic grist mill goes up in flames overnight

The Kelowna Fire Department and RCMP remain on scene

One of the buildings at Kelowna’s historic grist mill went up in flames overnight.

Crews arrived to Brent’s Grist Mill at 3 a.m. on Wednesday to find the Fleming House engulfed in flames. Damage to the structure was significant.

“The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. We are on scene today and investigating a possible cause but we believe the building will be a total loss,” said fire chief Travis Whiting.

The site was secured by a chain-link fence and the gate was locked when fire crews arrived. The city has enhanced security patrols at the site.

“It’s very disappointing to lose a heritage structure, particularly after so much work has gone into moving the Fleming House to a new location and rehabilitating the building,” said Derek Edstrom, the city’s divisional director of partnerships and investments.

“We will continue to focus on the heritage elements of the remaining grist mill as we look to adaptive reuse of the site to capture the historical importance of the structure on early settlers’ lives.”

The Kelowna Fire Department and RCMP are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire.

The Brent’s Grist Mill building is one of three structures (farmhouse, milk house and cairn) that were relocated to the site in 2002 and were designated for protection by city council in 2004. The three heritage buildings are listed on the municipal heritage registry as well as the provincial and national heritage registers.

The Brent’s Grist Mill is the oldest surviving purpose-built grist mill structure in Western Canada and represents one of the first industrial enterprises in the Okanagan. The mill was built in 1871 using hewn post and beams, sawn joists and vertical plank exterior boards and battens.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Family safe after Rutland home gutted by early morning fire

READ MORE: RCMP launch investigation following alleged attack on Tiny House Warriors camp

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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