A fire on Friday evening gutted the Super Grocer store in the Steveston neighbourhood in Richmond, B.C., with the city's mayor saying it was a big loss.
Officials say the fire at the Super Grocer, located on No. 1 Road near the Steveston Community Park, started around 5 p.m. PT on Friday.
While firefighters said no one was injured in the blaze, they called the raging flames a "structural hazard" Friday night and could not send firefighters into the building for fears of a roof collapse.
On Saturday morning, Richmond Fire Chief Jim Wishlove told CBC News firefighters had mostly extinguished the blaze, but remained on the scene to extinguish any remaining hotspots.
"There's an awful lot of damage. The exterior walls are still standing, as is the office," he said.
The Super Grocer store, which first opened in 1979, has been run by multiple generations of the same family. (Jim Mulleder/CBC)
"After we get our engineering assessment completed ... us and the owner will have a much better idea about what the next steps forward could be."
Wishlove said firefighters would only be able to determine the fire's origin once a safety plan had been completed, and advised Steveston residents to avoid the area this weekend as there was still smoke and chemicals in the air.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie told reporters that the fire seemed to have started in the back of the store, and shoppers and staff left the store quickly afterwards.
"It's an institution in the community of Richmond ... a place that people have gone to for decades and decades," he said. "It's a real loss to the people of the City of Richmond, and particularly for Steveston residents."
Brodie said he hoped the store's owners are able to rebuild, and he was thankful no one seems to have been caught in the fire.
The Super Grocer store, which opened in 1979, is a family business that has been run by multiple generations of the Lu family.
Trevor Northrup, assistant deputy fire chief of Richmond Fire Rescue, said smoke coming out of the building Friday night made it difficult for firefighters to enter.
He said the cause of the blaze was not clear as of Friday evening, and fire investigators would continue to interview witnesses to find out what happened.