The amount of damage done to Revelstoke’s district heating plant is still being investigated, several days after the building caught fire.
Geoff Battersby, the chair of the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation, said that an insurance adjustor had visited the site, but the fire inspector hasn’t been able to enter the building.
“He can’t complete his business yet because of the fact there’s dangers with the roof,” said Battersby. “WorkSafeBC is here and they will be issuing their edicts about what has to be done from a safety point-of-view.”
The RCEC plant, which is located on Downie Street next the Downie Timber mill, caught fire late Sunday night. It took Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services about three hours to extinguish the blaze.
Battersby said the fire appeared to be restricted to the roof structure, which was severely damaged. The fire does not appear to have spread to the equipment down below, but there is water damage caused by efforts to extinguish the blaze.
“It’s really quite amazing how things look below the roof line,” he said. “Debris was falling down so there’s lots of litter on the floor, but because the sprinkler system was going it was putting out things as they fell.”
The sprinkler system did not affect the fire, because it occurred in the roof, above the sprinklers.
Battersby said the damaged roof will have to be removed from the building before the inspector can complete his work.
The main control room, located at the front of the building, emerged unscathed, but there is likely damage to the electronics that run some of the systems.
“Hopefully things won’t be as bad as they might have been, but it’s still a pretty devastating thing,” said Battersby. “It’s going to take a while to get it back on track.”
RCEC is installing a boiler on Friday so it can resume providing heat to its customers, which includes Downie Timber, city hall, the community centre, the aquatic centre, Minto Manor, Revelstoke Secondary School, and Begbie View Elementary.
Most buildings have back-up systems. The aquatic centre has closed the hot tub and the pool will be slightly cooler than normal until heating is restored, said Laurie Donato, the director of parks, recreation and culture.