UPDATE: Vernon fire crews extinguish vehicle fire at elementary school | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Vernon fire crews extinguish vehicle fire at elementary school

Vernon Fire Rescue Services had to extinguish a vehicle on fire parked in the lot Harwood Elementary School, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Vernon Fire Rescue Services

A vehicle fire that took place at Harwood Elementary School this morning was caused when a senior crashed his vehicle into other parked vehicles while attempting to exit the parking lot.

A Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media release, Feb. 3, says the collision caused the vehicle to leak fluid which then caught on fire, and engulfed the vehicle in flames. The 82-year-old driver managed to exit the vehicle and appeared unharmed.

According to a Vernon Fire Rescue Services media release, the fire department got the call at roughly 10:20 a.m. today, Feb. 3, and arrived in the parking lot at Harwood Elementary School to see thick black smoke billowing from the vehicle.

"When we arrived, no one was in the vehicle and we were able to extinguish the fire before it extended to the building or surrounding area," Fire Capt. Rob Cucheran said in the release.

School was in session at the time of the fire but no children were outside while the vehicle was ablaze.

Police say the 82-year-old male driver believed his wife was at the elementary school when he collided with two parked cars, a utility trailer and a concrete barricade. The man was taken to hospital as a medical issue may have contributed to the incident. 

"The fire created heavy smoke, but there was no immediate risk to students or staff of the school," Cucheran said.

"As all the students were inside the school, there was no safety risk to the students during this incident," RCMP Corp. Tania Finn said in the release. "Out of caution for the health of the students, police requested they remain inside in order to minimize any exposure to the smoke from (the) vehicle fire."

It took around 40 minutes for firefighters to deal with the fire and absorbent material was put down to deal with leaking fluids from the vehicle.

— This story was updated 3:38 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 with new information from RCMP.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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