Garage fire not suspicious

Vernon fire crews douse a structure fire at Sanderson Service, in the 4600 block of 31st Street, Friday afternoon.  - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
Vernon fire crews douse a structure fire at Sanderson Service, in the 4600 block of 31st Street, Friday afternoon.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

A fire that destroyed a Vernon auto repair shop and a trailer rental office May 18 is not suspicious in nature.

Vernon Fire Rescue inspector Dean Wakefield said he can’t release his department’s official findings on the fire that destroyed Sanderson Service and U-Haul Co. in the 4600 block of 31st Street because the matter is still being privately investigated by an insurance company.

“I can say we believe the fire was not suspicious,” said Wakefield.

The blaze broke out just before 4:20 p.m. after Sanderson Service owner Dave Sanderson was trying to pull a vapour line off the gas tank of a 1985 vehicle. When he pulled the line off, gas came pouring out of the car.

Sanderson went to get a bucket but couldn’t catch all of the gas as it kept flowing out.

Gas that escaped pooled as it hit cement on the other side of the building, and Sanderson believes it was something on the other side of the building that ignited the fire.

The blaze destroyed two vehicles in the auto repair bays, and steam from the fire damaged two vehicles outside the building.

A neighbouring laundromat in the same building was not damaged inside, though there was a smoke smell because of the fire.

The wall shared by the auto repair shop and the laundromat suffered cracking.

The businesses and the building were both insured.


Sanderson suffered some burns in the fire while a female employee was able to get out unharmed.



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