RCMP are treating a fire at an autowrecking business in Chase as suspicious.
About 5:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21, the Chase Fire Department was called to Adrenaline Auto Recyclers at 117 Aylmer Rd.
Later that day, Fire Chief Brian Lauzon said about 20 vehicles were burned in the blaze along with two large shipping containers, tires and a lot of other debris. It was necessary to use the owner’s forklift to separate the vehicles. He said the fire in the auto wrecking yard even burned vehicles next door on the neighbour’s property.
On Jan. 26, Chase RCMP’s Sgt. Barry Kennedy said the fire department has a fire investigator looking into cause and starting point of the fire.
“When we get their report we’ll be able to move on, but right now we’re treating it as suspicious,” Kennedy said.
A spokesperson for Adrenaline Auto Recyclers said staff believe the fire was deliberately set. Asked about loud bangs heard by residents, he surmised those were air bags popping.
Toxic smoke was produced by the fire that burned for several hours.
“It was a very bad venting day so all the smoke was staying in the valley,” Lauzon said, noting vehicle fires are extremely toxic.
The fire department issued a warning that day via the Village of Chase for residents to stay indoors and not breathe the smoke.
Lauzon said due to low numbers of firefighters, his department was grateful for assistance from the Adams Lake and Little Shuswap Lake bands’ fire departments as well as the Pritchard Fire Department.
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