Firefighters continue their battle against a stubborn blaze in a commercial block in downtown Nanaimo. More details will be provided as the story unfolds.

Firefighters continue their battle against a stubborn blaze in a commercial block in downtown Nanaimo. More details will be provided as the story unfolds.

Update: Fire in downtown Nanaimo, near old Acme Food Co

NANAIMO – People are advised to stay away from downtown Nanaimo as firefighters battle a blaze.

People are advised to avoid downtown Nanaimo as firefighters battle a blaze near the old Acme Food Co building.

According to Karen Lindsay, City of Nanaimo emergency program coordinator, Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called out tonight at 6:27 p.m. to 10 Commercial St.

“When crews arrived here, obviously they were confronted with smoke,” said Lindsay. “It’s a very deep-seated fire, so they’re really taking a defensive attack right now and trying to protect all of the businesses that currently aren’t impacted.”

Lindsay said firefighters are anticipating a long night. There are four stations on scene, paid on-call staff, plus another 12 firefighters.

Franklyn Street at Wallace Street had been blocked off around 9 p.m. and Lindsay is advising people to stay away from the downtown area.

“We anticipate … we’re going to probably have these streets down for quite some time,” said Lindsay. “We just want people to avoid the area because the smoke is just moving so weird.”

People are better finding an alternate route around the area, Lindsay said.

As of about 9 p.m., Lindsay said the fire was not contained and the source of the fire was not yet known.

“Prevention will be going in tomorrow – if we can get this thing under control – to investigate, but we anticipate that that building’s pretty much going to be a loss,” said Lindsay.