Six businesses burned to the ground Wednesday nightin downtown Penticton, after an explosion rockedthe B.C. city.

Penticton fire department Capt. Howard Grantham said witnesses heard a loud bang at about 10 p.m. as the fire engulfed several businesses.

Hesaid there was no way crews could save the building.

"There was reports of an explosion and an immediate fire. It was a very dramatic start and a very substantial amount of flame.

"SoI think the guys did a very good job on trying to keep it from spreading into adjacent buildings and a row of residential houses right across the back alley."

Grantham said a brick wall helpedkeep the flames from spreading through the entire block, but his crews were not able to savetwo financial and accounting businesses, a tailor's shop, two union offices and the Lloyd Gallery.

All the paintings inthe gallery were destroyed, including an original Roy Henry Vickers acrylic on canvas and several watercolours by the late Toni Onley.

There were no injuries.

There's no word yet on the cause of the blaze.