Hotel, gas station
fire forces evacuation of B.C. village
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2007
WONOWON, B.C. -- A local state of emergency was declared
Friday in the northern B.C. village of Wonowon after
fire broke out at a hotel and gas station.
Most residents of the community, which has a population
of about 200, were ordered evacuated because of fears
propane and gasoline tanks in the filling station
attached to the hotel might explode.
The RCMP also closed the Alaska Highway that runs
through the village.
Evacuees from the village, which used to be called
Blueberry, were taken to Fort St. John, about 100
kilometres to the south.
Witnesses say everyone safely escaped the burning
building without injury.
Hotel cook R. J. Callahayson said employees quickly
cleared the building when the fire was discovered.
"I watch our gas jockey booking it up in the
hotel rooms, banging on doors trying to get everybody
out," he said.
"So I'm banging on doors with this guy. And
I'm like, 'get the hell out of here man.'
"In about 20 minutes half the building (burned).
Forty minutes after that it was all in flames. I lost
all my stuff."
The tiny community has no fire protection so the
building was allowed to burn itself out.