It’s unclear where an investigation
into a fire that destroyed a vacant
building that housed a restaurant and
guest suites will lead.
The early morning blaze
Monday that completely destroyed
the Riverbed Bistro on 6th Avenue
marks the third time firefighters have
attended that location in four years.
Cpl. Sean Hall from the Keremeos
detachment said police are deeming
the fire suspicious.
“We are considering the fire suspicious
and are investigating,” he wrote
in an email to the Review Monday
The scene of the fire at 630- 6th
Avenue was left unsecured overnight
Monday. All that prevents people
from accessing the site is plastic
red tape that reads, “Danger Do Not
As listed in the Keremeos tax roll,
the owner of the property is numbered
company 0961380 BC Ltd.
The numbered company was incorporated
in February 2013.
Keremeos Fire Chief Jordy
Bosscha said the structure, which is
located across the street from the fire
hall, had to be taken down with an
excavator for safety reasons and so
volunteer crews were not on scene all
day Monday dousing hot spots.
In addition to being chief of the
fire department Bosscha is also the
local representative of the Office of
the Fire Commissioner.
He does not possess equipment
to complete testing at the site and
doesn’t think any will be done
unless an insurance claim is made.
It’s unknown if the current owner
has insurance. Testing might also be
undertaken pending police investigation.
“Being as there is no security on
scene, it’s not secure, there would be
no value in anything found there now.
Who knows who’s been at the site
doing what overnight,” he said.
The fire was called in at about
3:30 a.m. No injuries were reported.
It’s been reported that neighbours
heard glass smashing at the site several
“It’s unfortunate. I think it was
burning for quite sometime,” he said.
When Keremeos firefighters
arrived on scene heavy black smoke
was billowing out of the building on
the upper and lower floor.
“Within minutes after we arrived
on scene the second floor exploded
into flames. About a half hour after
first arriving the roof and the second
floor collapsed,” he said.
After gearing up and hustling
across the street, Bosscha said he
knew the building was not safe to
enter and that crews would be working
to keep neighbouring properties
safe and get the fire out as soon as
Fifteen members of the Keremeos
department battled the blaze. Four
members of the Kaleden fire department
attended under the mutual aid
agreement. The fire was deemed out
at about 7:30 a.m.
“Special thanks to Kaleden Fire
Department, Fortis Power, Fortis
Gas, RCMP and BCAS for their
quick response and assistance,”
The Riverbed Bistro has been
burned by fire before.
A failed attempt to set the building
on fire occurred in May 2011 when
former owner Inderjit Chema used a
small jerry can to dump $10 worth of
gas on the walls of the building and
threatened to light it up.
Although unsuccessful Chema
was still charged with arson along
with damage to own property, assault
and uttering threats.
He received a suspended sentence
and 18 months strict probation. Last
reported Chema was running a restaurant
with his wife in Surrey. Almost
three years later on February 1, 2014
a fire ripped through the top floor of
the building. That fire was deemed
suspicious but no charges were ever
laid. The facade of the second floor
was eventually rebuilt in spring 2014
but the business remained unopened
until Monday’s fire completely destroyed the building.