Atlin general store and post office owner ‘devastated’ after fire destroys it

Residents of Atlin, BC, no longer have a post office or general store.

A nighttime fire tore through Sincerely Yours and the Canada Post office last week, destroying everything inside.

Tina St Cyr, the owner, said she still accepts what happened.

“I’m holding on,” she told CBC. “It’s definitely been a struggle, but there was so much to do and think about that it kind of occupied my brain and you know one step ahead and one thing at a time.”

St Cyr said the night of the fire she was woken up by her husband’s father who called her to tell her what was going on.

“We received an audio call on Facebook,” explained St Cyr. “Then her dad came to our house a few minutes later, basically telling us we needed to go to the store right away.”

When she arrived at the store, she was greeted by RCMP and the Atlin Fire Department who were already on the scene.

“It was just…oh wow,” she said. “There was smoke starting to seep in from all edges of the roof and they were trying to figure out what was going on and I gave them my keys and they were able to get through the back door briefly.”

St Cyr says that by the time the crews entered the building, the fire had already become too big.

“The fire came through the only exterior wall near the fuel oil tank and although they tried to contain it, it also appeared to be in the attic… the wind was just gusting and it just went up into a blaze,” said she declared. .

The post office building in Atlin, British Columbia, in flames, captured around 3 a.m. on September 23. The northern British Columbia community is just over a two-hour drive from Whitehorse. (Submitted by Robin Armour)

St. Cyr said it was devastating to watch this unfold before his eyes.

“‘You’re watching something you can’t believe is happening,’ St Cyr said. ‘It’s just surreal.’

It is still unclear what started the fire, she said, but hopes to get more answers as the investigation into the incident continues.

Not just a store, but a community center

St Cyr said the building was a pillar of the Atlin community.

“Five years ago I had the opportunity to set up the post office,” she said. “It’s amazing in a small town, the post office is one of those things where you see and meet everyone. There’s always a chance you’ll bump into someone you haven’t seen. for a while. It’s definitely a devastating loss.”

St Cyr said she had been in contact with Canada Post to discuss options for providing temporary services. She doesn’t know what it will look like at this time, but hopefully the community will have a bit more information by the end of the week.

As for the next steps for the store, she said her goal is to clean up the site.

“I don’t think that given the delay of the year, reconstruction is possible,” she explained. “We are still dealing with adjusters and still trying to figure out our next steps.”

St Cyr also saluted his community and thanked everyone for their support.

“They’re incredibly supportive,” she said. “They reached out and asked if there was anything they could do, how they could help and what we needed. It was just amazing.”

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