As Robert Nikirk took in the damage of his burned-out North Cowichan business on Monday, he was grateful.
“I just want to thank the fire department and all the first responders and did their very best to save what they could,” he said. “[They] did a hell of a job and I just want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart.”
Nikirk is the owner of OK Tire on North Cowichan’s Norcross Road, which suffered massive damage after it went up in flames over the weekend.
The huge mechanic shop was fully engulfed in flames when crews answered the call at 3:47 a.m. Sunday.
According to officials, firefighters had to use aerial devices to knock the fire down, because it had already collapsed the building’s roof.
“Crews ran into tanks, propane, hydraulic fluid and a huge store of both new and old tires, which created a fire load issue,” said Martin Drakeley, who is the manager of fire and bylaws for Municipality of North Cowichan.
OK Tire had been a family-run tire business in the Cowichan Valley for nearly 60 years.
“It’s a family-owned local business and it has been around for a long time,” said neighbour and Galaxy RV Owner Brian Gemmell.
“Most of the employees they have are long-time employees as well so it’s just too bad it happened, but the good thing is they are a family and they’ll pull through,” Gemmell added.
The cause of the fire has not been released yet, but both North Cowichan Fire and RCMP investigators spent time Sunday and Monday on the scene.
As the Nikirk family took stock of what it had left, after a fire that took so much of what it had built.