A massive blaze levelled Ace Building Centre in the Port Kells area of Surrey Monday afternoon.
Steve Serbic, Surrey Fire Service assistant chief of operations said the two-storey, 20,000 square-foot building located at 18981 88th Ave. is a total loss after 26 firefighters out of 11 trucks battled the 2nd alarm fire.
Nobody was injured.
Surrey fire crews are in the process of putting out a fire at Ace Building Centre in Port Kells. pic.twitter.com/Uip44iItSb
— Cloverdale Reporter (@CloverdaleNews) August 31, 2020
Reached on the store phone line, a man who identified himself as Bill said he was the store operator.
“It’s gone – it’s the whole building, right. It’s all dried wood. That place is like a barbecue, it’s just went up,” Bill said.
“It’s just the hardware store on fire here. I leased it, and it got sold and somebody bought it and we were getting out. We were in the midst of packing, taking the signs down and all that.”
Bill said he leased the space for the past five years, but the building has been around “for a long time.”
“The guy I bought it off had it since 1975 but it’s been here since before then. It’s almost a heritage building, a one-of-a-kind building,” said Bill, who declined to give his last name.
“I’m not sure what started it, but I think it’s definitely arson because someone was seen here.”
Bill said he wasn’t at the scene when the fire started.
“I was on the highway, because one of our trucks broke down, and I got a call from an employee saying someone came and knocked on the door saying, ‘There’s a fire upstairs, you better get out of the place.’”
“It’s one of the saddest things, and we have some memories in there. Lots of people from the area shopped here and we got to know them. Some of our personal stuff is in there, my kids stuff, because some of that was stored in here. That’s the worst part.”
This story was edited at 9:08 p.m. The original story indicated there were two separate fires in Port Kells – one in a home and one at Ace Building Centre. In fact, the one thought to be a home fire was part of Ace Building Centre.
— Tanya.Scai (@Tanscan888) August 31, 2020