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UPDATE: 20 vehicles, 2 shipping containers burned in fire at auto-wreckers in Chase

Fire chief said investigation of blaze not complete, point of origin yet unknown
An auto-wrecking business in Chase caught fire around 5:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21. Firefighters remained on scene for more than nine hours. (Lyle Kells/Facebook photo)

Fire and toxic smoke filled the air surrounding an autowrecking business in Chase on Jan. 21.

After about nine hours at the scene of a smoky fire at Adrenaline Auto Recyclers in Chase on Jan. 21, Chase firefighters were doing a double-check for hot spots around 2:30 p.m. before heading back to the station.

The call to 117 Aylmer Rd. came in about 5:30 a.m., said Chase Fire Chief Brian Lauzon.

Due to a low number 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.

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.

“It was a very bad venting day so all the smoke was staying in the valley,” Lauzon noted. “One breath of that stuff could almost kill you – vehicle fires are pretty bad.” 

The fire department issued a warning Friday via the Village of Chase for residents to stay indoors and not breathe the smoke.

He said the fire department is basically dealing with a hazmat scene now.

Lauzon said the site of origin hadn’t been determined as of 2:30 p.m. as crews had been too busy fighting the fire.

Update 9:30 a.m.

A spokesperson for Adrenaline Auto Recyclers said staff believe arson was the cause of the fire.

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.

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. (Monique Bray/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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