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Fire at Victoria Mustard Seed halts operations

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A small fire at the Mustard Seed location near downtown Victoria has caused the food bank to close its doors Monday.

The fire occurred in an entranceway of the 625 Queens Ave. facility early Monday morning, according to Colleen Sparks, Mustard Seed director of development.

Firefighters quickly dealt with the flames, but the extent of the smoke damage in the building is unknown.

Victoria Fire Chief Daniel Atkinson says 17 firefighters and six apparatus responded to the fire.

"Preliminary investigation indicates the fire began outside the structure and extended to the interior," he said.

A restoration team is assessing the building to see if it's safe to re-enter, and what effects there may be on food donations.

The cause of the fire and damage estimates are still being determined Monday, according to Atkinson.

"We're having a hygienist come through the restoration company to let us know about the food here," said Sparks.

"Whether or not the food that we have here on site is still safe to be handed out, or whether or not we have to bring new food over and, unfortunately, throw out the food we have here," she said.

No one was injured in the fire.

The Mustard Seed location will be closed for the remainder of Monday, and may be closed for the next several days. The timeline is unclear since the assessment is still underway, says Sparks.

In the meantime, the Mustard Seed is considering using the parking lot of the Victoria location to temporarily operate out of.

"We're going to try to expedite the repairs at the end of the building that's farthest from the fire so we can use that as a space," added Sparks.

She says the Victoria Mustard Seed will be unable to accept new food donations Monday, and likely the next few days, as it responds to the fire.

"We appreciate donations, but today's not the day," she said.

"I think I would just want the community to hope the best for us to get up and running as quickly as possible," said Sparks.

"We'll be working as hard as we can to get ourselves up and open in the next few days as quickly as possible," she said. "We thank the community for all the support over the years."

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