No charges expected in suspicious fire

No charges have been laid in connection with a suspicious fire that destroyed a vacant restaurant and guest suites in Keremeos this summer

  • Oct. 22, 2015 6:00 p.m.

 

No charges have been laid in connection with a suspicious fire that destroyed a vacant restaurant and guest suites in Keremeos this summer.

Cpl. Kat Thain from the Keremeos Review detachment confirmed Tuesday that the police investigation into the fire at the Riverbed Bistro on 6th Avenue is complete and that no charges were expected at this time.

Thain was not available for further comment before this edition went to press.

Keremeos CAO, Cathy Cowan told councillors Monday night that the property owner has received notice that the property is to be cleaned up by Oct. 26 or other arrangements will be made.

“An invoice will go to the property owner and if not paid it will go on the tax bill,” she said.

Keremeos firefighters attended the building several times before because of fire.

The early morning blaze in mid-June was the third time in four years firefighters were required at the building that was conveniently located across the street from their hall.

The fire was called in about 3:30 a.m. June 15.

When Keremeos firefighters arrived on scene heavy black smoke was billowing out of the building on

the upper and lower floor.

“Within minutes after we arrived on scene the second floor exploded into flames. About a half hour after first arriving the roof and the second floor collapsed,” Jordy Bosscha, Keremeos Fire Chief said in an interview with the Review a day after the blaze in June.

Fifteen members of the Keremeos department battled the blaze. Four members of the Kaleden fire department

attended under the mutual aid agreement. The fire was deemed out at about 7:30 a.m. after the structure was knocked down with an excavator.

Bosscha, who is also the local representative of the Office of the Fire Commissioner, said at the time he was unable to do any testing for arson at the site because of lack of equipment.

The site was left unsecured for several days after the fire.

It is unknown at this time what testing the RCMP might have done while investigating the suspicious fire.

The property is listed under a numbered company 0961380 BC Ltd. On the Keremeos Tax Roll.

Previous fires

A failed attempt to set the building on fire occurred in May 2011 when former owner Inderjit Chema used a small jerry can to dump $10 worth of gas on the walls of the building and threatened to light it up.

Although unsuccessful Chema was still charged with arson along with damage to own property, assault and uttering threats. He received a suspended sentence and 18 months strict probation.

Almost three years later on February 1, 2014 a fire ripped through the top floor of the building. That fire was deemed suspicious but no charges were ever laid. The facade of the second floor was eventually rebuilt in spring 2014 but the business remained unopened.

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