Kamloops auto shop got off lucky when an arsonist struck | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kamloops News

Kamloops auto shop got off lucky when an arsonist struck

Bry's Automotive and Customs in Kamloops was hit by an arsonist on May 13, 2024, but the fire was out long before it was discovered.

A fire at a Kamloops auto shop was extinguished within minutes, leaving a charred and smoky surprise for the employee who showed up that morning.

Surveillance footage caught the perpetrator scoping the North Shore shop, along with another across the street, before settling on Bry's Automotive and Customs as his target.

Emergency crews were called to the scene around 4 a.m. Monday, May 13, but that was two hours after the fire itself.

Manager Nikki Oliver said another employee who starts around that time spotted the burnt front office area, but surveillance footage inside revealed the fire was started around 2:15 a.m. and burned itself out, leaving smoke damaged and charring on the front desk.

"Fortunately, I forgot to put the floor mats out that night," she said.

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The front window was already damaged before the arsonist broke through and started the fire.
The front window was already damaged before the arsonist broke through and started the fire.

The wooden desk was also mostly covered by a metal sign, helping to block the fire from spreading. It means the shop can still operate as normal, despite the smoke damage and the yet-to-be-replaced front window.

While Oliver said they were lucky it didn't spread, she added that if the arsonist was trying to burn the shop down, he did a poor job.

He tossed a glass bottle inside after breaking through the already-cracked front window. He was then seen lighting three separate pieces of fabric and tossing them inside before one ignited the accelerant.

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Kamloops RCMP officers and firefighters were called to the scene. Police said in a media release the suspect was wearing a camouflage toque, surgical mask, dark jacket, red gloves, black pants and black shoes with white soles. He left the scene of the fire on a mountain bike.

Police said it's unknown if the fire is related to any of the other arsons connected to a local gang conflict, but Oliver suggested it was more like random mischief.

The business is no stranger to mischief, she said, with employees regularly watching for potential thefts and property crime even during business hours.

"We have no connections to any gangs," Oliver said.

The gang-connected arsons known to the public started in March with a house fire on Brunner Avenue. The latest one police have said is connected was in April at a home on Tranquille Road.

Anyone with information about the Wilson Street fire at By's Automotive can contact Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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