Update, Jan. 31, 2:40 p.m.
While there was smoke, there was no fire.
Firefighters responding to a report of a commercial structure fire at the NuFloors building at 775 Lakeshore Drive had some good news for the business.
The smoke that had prompted the building’s evacuation Friday afternoon, Jan. 31, was related to the sewer system smoke testing being conducted by the city.
The City of Salmon Arm public works department confirmed Friday was the last day of testing. Advance notification of the testing was distributed to residences and businesses throughout the city.
The city’s website notes the smoke is harmless and dissipates quickly; however, it can activate smoke alarms.
Salmon Arm Fire Department deputy fire Gary Lebeter said the NuFloors staff did the right thing calling 911.
“When in doubt, call us out – that’s what the taxpayer is paying for and that’s what we’re here for,” said Lebeter, explaining the smoke entered the building through a dried floor drain.
“The P-trap inside the floor drain was dry of water so some of the smoke came out into the building,” said Lebeter. “What happens is people don’t realize that the P-traps will dry out and we’ve actually had calls in the past where they thought it was a natural gas leak but they were actually smelling the sewer.”
Lebeter added with some people will put olive or vegetable oil in P-traps located in areas where they don’t get water in them.
“It won’t evaporate and it just seals the odours from coming up,” said Lebeter.
As part of its smoke testing notification, the city advises to make sure all drain traps under basins, washing facilities and floor drains have water in them.
“If smoke enters your home or business during testing, you should try to monitor where it is coming from and open your windows,” states the city’s website. “You should then call a plumber; there is a strong possibility that there is a deficiency in your plumbing and that harmful sewer gases may be entering your building. If you are unsure whether the smoke is from our testing, you should call 911.”
Salmon Arm firefighters are currently responding to reports of a structure fire at the NuFloors building at 775 Lakeshore Drive SW.
Reports of smoke coming from an interior wall of the building were received at approximately 1 p.m., firefighters are reporting the building has been evacuated and the incident is being investigated.
So far, no open flames have been reported by firefighters, but smoke can be seen coming from inside the building.
An Observer reporter is heading to the scene, updates will be provided as more information is made available.