RCEC fire fallout: Schools remain open, city pool questionable

Revelstoke Secondary School and Begbie View Elementary School will stay open on backup power, but the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre pool is questionable after its main heating source failed.

Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services crews battle a serious fire at the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation's District Energy System plant on the Downie lot early Monday morning. Photo: Revelstoke Fire Rescue Services

The facilities that linked to the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation’s District Energy System are each dealing with the fallout of the fire that badly damaged the energy plant early Monday morning.

The Revelstoke School District has fired up backup systems at Revelstoke Secondary School and Begbie View Elementary and classes will go on as normal, a spokesperson said.

Most City of Revelstoke buildings have reverted to backup boilers and will continue on as normal. However, the Revelstoke Aquatic Centre was built with a link-up to the district energy system in mind, and city staff are still assessing whether it can be operated on a backup boiler system. A city spokesperson said they will know by Tuesday morning and make an announcement then. The pool remains open.

Larry Marchand is the manager of the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation’s District Energy System. He said the assessment is still underway and is very preliminary because it’s too dangerous to enter the building still.

Based on an outside visual inspection, Marchand said the front office and the back fuel storage areas escaped the brunt of the fire, which was concentrated in the main, central equipment room.

“We can see that the roof has collapsed in the main equipment room,” Marchand said. “It’s hard to say exactly because it is not safer to do anything other than carefully look in the door.”

He said the main equipment room was heavily damaged, including processing piping and wiring for the complex system. He felt the main biomass combuster is “maybe salvageable” but it was too early to say.

“I think the majority of the structure can be salvaged,” Marchand said.

Marchand said the RCEC is looking at options for bringing in a temporary, freestanding boiler to service their clients, and that they should have an answer on what they are planning to do by Tuesday afternoon.