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Firefighters snuff suspicious fire at downtown Vernon business

The fire was spreading up the side of the building when crews arrived Wednesday morning
Vernon Fire Rescue Services snuffed a suspicious fire in the downtown area early Wednesday morning, Feb. 15, 2023. (City of Vernon photo)

Vernon firefighters knocked down a suspicious structure fire in a downtown alleyway Wednesday morning.

Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFRS) was called to a fire in the 3300 block of Coldstream Avenue around 5:20 a.m. Feb. 15. Firefighters confirmed a fire had been ignited in an enclosed area at the rear of a business, where pallets and other materials were located.

The fire was spreading up the side of the building.

“Once the fire was knocked down, crews entered the building and confirmed there was no fire extension inside. However, smoke did enter the business and caused damage, so the building was ventilated,” said deputy fire chief Alan Hofsink.

“The business where the fire took place is located next to a multi-storey retirement residence. Thanks to the quick and precise action of our firefighters, the fire was contained to the single property and there was no extension or damage to the adjacent structures. This is another example of the excellent service our first responders provide to keep our community safe in dangerous situations.

No one was there when crews arrived and no injuries have been reported.

The fire is deemed suspicious and the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP is investigating.

“Over the last couple years, VFRS has been dispatched to many fires that have been started in commercial dumpsters or where stockpiles of pallets, debris and other material have been found. We know this is concerning for our business community, our residents and our first responders. Therefore, we want to take a moment to highlight some simple steps that can be taken to reduce fire risks,” said Hofsink.

“Property owners are strongly encouraged to take a close look at their outdoor areas and regularly remove debris, pallets and other combustible materials from their sites, confirm compounds are fully secured, and check dumpsters every day to make sure they are secured and locked. We may not be able to completely eliminate fire risks, but by working together, we can reduce them.”

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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