Nine fire departments and over 50 firefighters responded to a fire at the Co-op gas station in Whiskey Creek, which sustained significant damage yesterday (June 17). The origin of the blaze was a vehicle at one of the fuel pumps and appears to be accidental, according to a media release from the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department, which responded at 3:49 p.m.
“On arrival there was fire spreading from a motor vehicle at a fuel pump to the overhead canopy and store front of a two storey convenience store,” said Theresa Benoit, lieutenant of fire prevention and training.
“Quick thinking staff members at the location of the incident were able to activate the emergency shut off for the fuel pumps and safely evacuate all staff and public from the area.”
There were no injuries caused by the fire, according to Cpl. Stewart Egers of the Oceanside RCMP.
“Our goal in this investigation, as in any, was to maintain public safety and determine if there was any criminality involved,” he wrote in an email to Oceanside News. “I can confirm that there were no injuries sustained as a result of the fire and that, after speaking to witnesses on scene, it was determined that the cause of the fire was not suspicious or criminal in nature.”
The highway was shut down for about four hours, but traffic is now moving in both directions, according to DriveBC, as of 8 a.m. this morning.
Eleven water tender apparatus vehicles responded to supply water, as there were no hydrants at the location, Benoit said. She added the fire was challenging to access and fire crews worked until 10:20 p.m. on fire suppression and to put out any remaining hot spots.
The incident was attended by agencies including: Qualicum Beach Fire Department, Errington Fire Department, Parksville Fire Department, Dashwood Fire Department, Bow Horne Bay Fire Department, Nanoose Bay Fire Department, Lantzville Fire Department, East Wellington Fire Department, British Columbia Ambulance Service, Oceanside RCMP, BC Highway Patrol, Mid Island Mainroad Contracting, BC Hydro, and Telus, according to Benoit.