A structure fire on Old Waneta Road last month will go down in history as one of the largest fought locally, but the cause of the inferno may forever remain unknown.
In the early hours of Dec. 11, an onsite storage unit behind JF Auto Centre went up in flames, along with 28 vehicles it was housing and an attached greenhouse where owner John Foglia grew fig and other Italian specialty trees.
“There is no cause determined,”confirmed Terry Martin, regional fire chief. “We’ve ruled out electrical and everything else so unfortunately it will go down as undetermined.”
The extensive damage to the storage unit was a barrier to pinpointing the origin of the fire, however Martin explained the area of origin was inside the greenhouse on the river end of the building.
“But what happened inside that greenhouse, we will probably never know.”
Private investigators from ICBC and an insurance company were on site within two days of the fire, but according to Martin, they’ve all come to the same conclusion.
“We work together with those folks to find and share information,” he said.
“But in this case, we were not able to come up with a definitive cause.”
So far, no dollar loss amount has been released, added Martin.
Up to 35 firefighters were called to douse the flames for about two hours from the time the fire started until about 6:30 a.m. that morning.
No injuries were reported and due to regional fire service efforts to protect Able Plastics, a fibre and plastics manufacturer located near JF Auto, that company’s shop sustained only surface damage.