Business heavily damaged by grass fire Woman charged with arson

Business heavily damaged by grass fire Womancharged with arson

30 April 2008

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Jim’s Auto Service, located behind Lakeview Mall shopping centre, received extensive damage from a grass fire that got out of control last Tuesday afternoon.

“We [Burns Lake fire fighters] were on scene by 2:50 pm,” said fire Chief Jim McBride, after the fire, speaking of the business owned by Jim Goertzen.

“It was a grass fire gone awry,” said McBride.

“Somebody started a grass fire behind the southeast corner of the building, it [the fire] spread into a back corner shed , went up into the roof, and that was that.”

RCMP spokesman Mike Kisters said, “The fire was witnessed to have started in the grass behind the building, which quickly spread to the structure.”

“Charlotte L. Morris, a 33-year-old female from Burns Lake, was arrested and taken into custody, and has since been charged with arson and breach of an undertaking.”

Kisters said that a bail hearing had been held for Morris after she was arrested and charged, but the court did not release her.

“She is currently remanded into custody, and will appear in court on May 13, 2008, where a judge will decide whether she will be released.”

Alcohol appeared to have been a major contributing factor to the incident, said Kisters.

No one was injured in the fire, but two people were taken to Lakes District Hospital in private vehicles to be treated for smoke inhalation, and later released.

No one was injured in the fire.

“Two people were taken to Lakes District Hospital in private vehicles to be treated for smoke inhalation,” said B.C. Ambulance paramedic Greg Giles, who was on scene at the fire.

Lakes District Hospital said Wednesday morning that the two people had been released.

Mechanics employed by Jim’s Auto Service had their eyes washed out by ambulance personnel in the parking lot adjacent to Jim’s Auto Service.

Two fire trucks with crews were dispatched to the scene. and several police cars were also in attendance..

RCMP set up a yellow tape perimeter to keep people at least 75 metres away from the east side of the building, fearing the possibility of a propane tank explosion.

Fire fighters were still hosing down the fire at 4:15 pm, 90 minutes after it started, with one firefighter using a water hose inside the building, pointing it towards the east ceiling of the building; and three fire fighters were hosing down another shed at the back of the building.

As fire fighters fought the blaze, volunteers removed vehicles to prevent damage.

McBride said next day, “It was amazing to see people in the community come out after the fire was put out, and again last night, to help retrieve items like computers, files, and other items from the scene. That was his business, that was his livelihood.”

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