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Investigation into suspicious blaze at Kamloops Budget Car Rental ongoing

Police wish to speak to anyone who witnessed the fire or any suspicious activity in the area of Budget Car Rental on April 14, 2017.
April 17, 2017 - 2:46 PM

'WE FIND IT COMPLETELY BIZARRE'

KAMLOOPS – Investigators are still examining what led to the destructive blaze at a Kamloops car rental company last Friday that a company director is calling "a total loss."

Greg Willmon, a director of Devon Transport Ltd. was on site in Sahali on Saturday, April 17 to see the wreckage and calls the case surprising and bizarre. Devon Transport Ltd. is the group that operates several Budget Rental Car franchises in B.C.

"I was definitely surprised. I've been doing this for 40-something-odd years and we've never had an incident like this involving a fire," Willmon says.

He says surveillance footage from a nearby business shows a truck backing into the office at 820 Notre Dame Drive around 3 a.m. on the morning of Friday, April 14 and someone intentionally starting the fire.

Willmon says they don't keep valuables, cash or computers on site.

The location sustained heavy damage from the fire on April 14, 2017.
The location sustained heavy damage from the fire on April 14, 2017.

"From what I've been told, they did this solely to start that building on fire. It didn't appear they looked through the building. There's no cash on site and other than a few computer monitors, there isn't a lot in there," he says.

Later that day, RCMP issued a media release identifying the blaze as suspicious in nature and asking anyone who may have witnessed activity in the area around the time of the fire to come forward. According to Kamloops Fire Rescue, the investigation was handed over to police right away.

The fire caused a number of power disruptions. Neighbouring business AAMCO Transmissions had no power over the weekend, but is open today, April 17, with help from a generator.

There are also self storage units on the Budget Rental property that lost power on Friday. Willmon says the units are still without power but not damaged. Anyone wishing to come and access their unit will be escorted by staff members with flashlights and LED lanterns until power is restored.

For now, the company is facing a total loss on the building, and plan to tear it down and rebuild. In the meantime, he says they will bring in trailers to serve as portable offices. 

"We have a very good team of people in Kamloops. We are going to do our best to keep everyone employed right through as if nothing happened," Willmon says.

Anyone with information that could help with the investigation are asked to contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

The fire caused a total loss and a new Budget Car Rental shop will be rebuilt at the same Notre Dame Drive location.
The fire caused a total loss and a new Budget Car Rental shop will be rebuilt at the same Notre Dame Drive location.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kim Anderson or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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