An early morning inferno on Old Waneta Road left costly destruction in its wake after 28 vehicles went up in flames.
The vehicles, ranging from cars and motorhomes to boats and a pontoon, were housed in a storage unit located behind JF Auto Centre when a fire broke out at 6:30 a.m., Terry Martin, regional fire chief told the Trail Times.
“We received multiple 911 calls because when the fire started it popped up really quickly,” said Martin. “The unfortunate part is the dollar loss because everything was lost,” he explained. “But we did keep the fire from spreading to Able Plastics which is right next door and was our initial concern.”
Martin said Able Plastics sustained some surface damage but the fire did not affect operation other than a loss of power to the building, and the fire effect was minimal to Les Schultz Autobody & Glass, a business located on the west side of JF Auto.
Initial investigation revealed the storage structure was approximately 30-feet wide by 200-feet long and an area of fire origin is suspected, but not yet confirmed.
“We have a good idea but it remains under investigation,” explained Martin. “At this time the fire is not suspicious in nature but we can’t make any assumptions and will continue to investigate.”
No injuries were reported, however in cases involving extensive damage claims, insurance companies will import their own cause-and-determination investigators, said Martin.
“That happens in every fire with a large dollar loss so we will continue to work with those folks as well.”
Companies from Trail, Montrose and Warfield responded to the two-alarm fire with Rossland on standby in Warfield because 30 to 35 firefighters were on the site for almost two hours before the fire was extinguished.
“We were there for quite awhile just for overhaul,” he said.
“Because we had a lot of hot spots in such a large area, an excavator was brought in to help move things around and ensure that the fire was fully extinguished.”