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UPDATE: Employee of auto-wrecking business in Chase thinks fire deliberately set

Fire chief urges people to stay inside, don’t breathe smoke from Aylmer Road fire as it may be toxic
An auto-wrecking business in Chase caught fire around 5:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21. Five fire trucks were still on scene at 9:30 a.m. (Facebook photo)

Update 9:30 a.m.

Gary Bell, an employee of Adrenaline Auto Recyclers, said staff believe arson was the cause of the fire. He said it started near the back of the yard.

Asked about the loud bangs, he said those were air bags popping.

Five fire trucks were on site, and firefighters were “definitely making headway,” he reported.

Bell said the Chase business has been operating for 15- to 20-plus years.

Update 9 a.m.

The Village of Chase Fire Chief has issued a warning. He said in a message to the village administrator that smoke from the auto-wrecking yard fire may be toxic and he is encouraging everyone to stay indoors if they can to reduce exposure to the smoke.

Update 8:45 a.m.

Cynthia Edwards, who lives near Aylmer Road in Chase, was lying in bed about 5:15 Friday morning waiting for her second alarm to go off.

She works at the Petro-Canada gas station and has to be there before 6 a.m.

When she started to hear a banging noise she thought it was just something outside her building. It continued, though, so she got up to check it out.

“I looked across from my window and I could see a fire there,” she said of an auto-wrecking business that’s located across the creek from her building. “It looked pretty big.”

She could also see a lot of black smoke.

Edwards said she wasn’t sure whether the blasts were from gas tanks exploding or tires popping.

The fire is what everyone who comes into the Petro-Can is talking about, she said.

As she speaks, she steps out outside.

“There’s still a lot of smoke,” she said. That was about 8:30 a.m.

Along with the Chase Fire Department, she saw the Pritchard Fire Department on their way to the blaze.

Original story:

Social media reports of a fire at an auto-wrecker in Chase are circulating. Also many reports of loud blasts as well.

The fire appears to be near the railway tracks at the west end of town.

More information as it becomes available.

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An auto-wrecking business in Chase caught fire around 5:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21. Five fire trucks were still on scene at 9:30 a.m. (Facebook photo)

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
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