The fire that destroyed a Rutland landmark has been deemed accidental by the Kelowna Fire Department.
Late in the evening on Tuesday, Oct. 6, Olympia Taverna on Highway 33 went up in flames. A waiter and another staff member were playing cards in the restaurant after closing, when they started to smell smoke, shortly after 10 p.m.
When they opened the restaurant’s back door, they saw flames burning up to the roof.
According to Paul Johnson, fire prevention officer with the Kelowna Fire Department, the fire was not malicious in nature.
“Our investigator and the RCMP determined that there was no criminality involved,” he said.
“It started up in the restaurant’s mechanical room, up on the second level. We couldn’t actually access that area, where there was a fan unit, due to safety concerns. But there was no indication that it was suspicious in nature.”
Olympia co-owner Mike Koutsantonis said it was a relief to hear the fire was accidental in nature.
“We kinda knew – we hoped – that it was accidental and that someone didn’t light it up on purpose,” he said.
“Now it’s just a matter of talking to the insurance company to see where we can move forward on this.”
Koutsantonis said they’ve been thinking about rebuilding and they know for sure they will do that in the future.
“What it’s going to look like, we don’t know yet. That’s going to be a little bit down the road.”
“It’s just good to know it wasn’t intentional. It’s always a good thing no one had bad intentions,” he said.