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Twisted Tomato restaurant suffers smoke damage

Kelowna firefighters at scene of fire early Monday morning at Twisted Tomato restaurant on Bernard Avenue.  - Don Sipos/Contributor
Kelowna firefighters at scene of fire early Monday morning at Twisted Tomato restaurant on Bernard Avenue.
— image credit: Don Sipos/Contributor

The stench of smoke is lingering around a downtown restaurant that was seriously damaged by fire Monday morning fire.

At around 2:39 a.m. Kelowna Fire Department was dispatched to the Twisted Tomato at 371 Bernard Ave.

Once they arrived at the two storey building, firefighters were greeted by black smoke streaming from the front door, said Dale Calhoun, platoon captain with the Kelowna Fire Department

“Attack crews advanced hose lines into the building and extinguished the fire,” he said.

Flames, which a preliminary investigation indicated  were sparked in a back storage and laundry area, spread through the entire restaurant.

The upper floor of the building and neighbouring businesses, however, were spared damage due to new technology, explained Calhoun.

Because the  Twisted Tomato is sandwiched between two other businesses the fire department protected those buildings by putting air pressure on the shared walls.

“It’s a technique that’s mostly used in strip mall fires,” he said, noting that they’ve been studying the method for some time.

High power exhaust fans were set up and they blew  air  into cracks and crevices in the walls.

Then the back door of the Twisted Tomato was opened to vent smoke and flames, saving neighbouring businesses any damage, although the smell of smoke was apparent later in the day.

The cause of the fire did not appear to be suspicious or electrical, but no conclusions on its cause were ready by press time.

Kelowna fire department responded with 18 personnel, three engines, one ladder, one Rescue Vehicle, Safety Officer  and a Command Unit. Assistance from RCMP, BCAS, FortisBC gas and electric.

Twisted Tomato owners weren’t available for comment at press time.

According to Calhoun, the restaurant will likely be closed for some time as clean up and restoration crews have their work cut out for them.

The fire department says the fire has been deemed as accidental but wants to remind both businesses and homeowners  of the value of a working fire alarm system.

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