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'Absolutely devastating': Fire destroys iconic Steveston grocery store

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A Steveston institution went up in flames Friday night, and fire crews say the building is a total loss.

Firefighters arrived at Super Grocer on No. 1 Road in Steveston shortly after 5 p.m. and were met with "heavy smoke" from three sides of the building, according to Asst. Deputy Chief Trevor Northrup of Richmond Fire Rescue.

He said there were no reports of anyone inside the building or any injuries from the blaze, but crews were unable to enter the structure to make sure of that.

Firefighters quickly escalated the call to a second alarm and spent much of the night battling the fire.

While they worked, the community gathered to watch in sadness as a store with decades of history burned.

"It's absolutely devastating," said Steveston resident Anne Would.

"This is a landmark, a Steveston icon. It's been here since my kids were born. It's been here since even before I moved into Steveston."

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie was also on scene. He called the situation "a real disaster" for his city.

"It's been here for many, many decades," he said. "People have all kinds of stories about it."

Asked whether the building could be salvaged, Northrup said no.

"Based on what we see, unfortunately, it is (a total loss) at this time," he said.

Northrup said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Brodie said firefighters told him it seemed to have started in the back of the building, possibly outside the structure itself.

Both the mayor and Would expressed hope that Super Grocer would be rebuilt.

"Hopefully they'll gather it back together, they'll rebuild it and bring back the Super Grocer, but it is a real loss to the people of the City of Richmond and particularly for Steveston residents," Brodie said. 

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