July 29, 2016 - 9:40 AM
VERNON - A suspicious fire at the former Legion building in downtown Vernon early this morning could have been much worse.
The fire started around 2:30 a.m., July 29, on the back steps of the vacant building on 31 Avenue, deputy Vernon fire chief Lawrie Skolrood says.
Flames travelled up the canopy of the back entrance and into the attic space of the building before firefighters stopped it in its tracks.
“The crews did a great job stopping it where they did. They got it before it ran down the length of the building and broke through. It could’ve been a lot worse,” he says.
The steps, canopy and roof sustained significant damage.
The deputy fire chief says there have been issues in the past with homeless individuals breaking into the building, but says that doesn’t appear to have occurred last night. He says there was no trace of anyone inside the building and says the fire originated outside.
Still, the fire is considered suspicious and investigators will return today to examine the scene.
Several other suspicious fires are under investigation in the Vernon area, but Skolrood says there is nothing to suggest the legion fire is connected in any way.
The fire department deployed three fire trucks and roughly 25 firefighters to tackle last night’s blaze.
“It’s an older building and it’s amongst a lot of other buildings. If it had gotten really going we’d have had issues with not only putting the building of concern out but also watching that it didn’t spread to the other ones, so it was good to contain it the way we did,” Skolrood says.
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