Nelson’s fire chief says the building that houses the Nelson Brewing Company is in need of a new alarm system after a fire Tuesday.
Chief Len MacCharles said the occupants of 514 Latimer St. were unaware of the danger when Nelson Fire and Rescue crews arrived at the scene shortly after 4 p.m.
The building, he said, had just one bell installed on an exterior wall with another alarm inside a residential suite.
“When I sent crews in to do the evacuations, there were still people inside drinking beer in the tasting centre,” said MacCharles. “They did not have any idea [there was a fire].”
MacCharles said investigators determined the cause of the blaze was an electric bike that was incompatible with its charger.
Prior to the fire, MacCharles said he had written an order of compliance to the building’s owner requiring verification from fire protection engineers that the alarm and sprinkler systems were adequate.
MacCharles said the current sprinkler system is what’s referred to as a dry sprinkler, which has idle air in the pipes that needs to be expelled before the water can reach the sprinkler.
He said while the sprinkler did help keep the fire in check, the flames had time to spread above the sprinkler system before the water could suppress it.
There were no injuries in the fire or the subsequent evacuation. The department estimates the fire caused between $40,000 and $60,000 in damage to the building.
Twenty-one firefighters, two fire engines and two utility vehicles were called to the incident.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated Len MacCharles issued a fire order Tuesday. MacCharles had actually already requested a review of the alarm and sprinkler systems prior to the fire.