Youth seen fleeing from Oliver blaze

Sunday morning blaze consumes EZ Fuel Station on Highway 97 north of Oliver

Oliver RCMP are looking for two people that were seen in the area of a fire early Sunday morning at the EZ Fuel Station.

The fire was in the building on Highway 97 just north of Oliver that was formerly known as Oasis Gas and had been undergoing renovations.

Oliver RCMP said there are witnesses who saw two youth fleeing the building just before the fire started.

Oliver Volunteer Fire Department spokesperson Spencer Tribbick said it took crews just six-and-a-half hours to contain the blaze.

“The roof was pretty much fully involved and it was working its way through the roof as we got there,” said Tribbick.

RCMP blocked traffic on Highway 97 for about two hours as a precaution because of poor visibility and the potential of an explosion. Tribbick said fire crews knew the building was under renovation.

“There were new tanks in the ground and we ran under the assumption that they were empty because the store wasn’t open yet. There was a propane tank on the north side which we looked after and we protected the tanks in the ground even though they were not a hazard,” said Tribbick.

“Had it been operational, then for sure it would have been a whole bunch of tense moments, but because it wasn’t, it was just like a structure fire really.”

The Oliver Fire Department spokesperson said it was hard to tell if the building was a complete loss, and that would be up to the business owner and insurance company to determine.

“The roof was almost completely destroyed but the walls were still standing and some of the inner walls still standing, so who knows if they will renovate or destroy it and start over again,” said Tribbick.

The Oliver Volunteer Fire Department extended their thanks to the Okanagan Falls volunteer firefighters who sent an extra water truck and two members to help contain the blaze.

A Provincial Fire Commission investigator and the Penticton RCMP forensic identification section have been requested to attend the scene to conduct an investigation. RCMP said, as with all fires of this nature, it will be treated as suspicious until proven otherwise.

Anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in or around the building before the fire are asked to contact the Oliver RCMP at 250-498-3422 or South Okanagan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

 

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