Massive fire destroys abandoned condo buildings in Merritt

Click to play video: 'Fire destroys abandoned building belonging to Merritt Mountain Music Festival'
Fire destroys abandoned building belonging to Merritt Mountain Music Festival
Fire crews in Merritt, B.C. had their hands full with a major blaze overnight. – Jun 18, 2024

The City of Merritt, B.C., is trying to figure out who is responsible for cleaning up the remains after a massive fire destroyed two abandoned buildings early Monday morning.

The fire, which broke out around 2 a.m. in one of the buildings on Midday Valley Road, quickly engulfed a second abandoned building. Fire crews were able to get the flames under control before they spread to a third abandoned building next door, according to Merritt RCMP.

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The size and ferocity of the fire, which could be seen across Merritt, prompted the city to send out a local emergency alert, according to the city’s chief administrative officer, Cynthia White.

“There were actually a number of volatile things in those buildings. We know that there have been propane tanks in them, barbecues, lawn mowers, weird kind of things like that,” White said, adding that the BC Wildfire Service was also involved.

“They were also on site to make sure that if there was any kind of spread, they were able to manage it quickly so that it would impact the community.”

The destroyed building reportedly formerly belonged to the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

The owner of the buildings will be responsible for taking care of the aftermath, according to White.

“They’re not owned by the city. We understand that they’re shifting ownership at this point. So we’re not sure exactly whose ownership they’re in right now,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Residents of Coquitlam apartment scramble to safety after fire breaks out'
Residents of Coquitlam apartment scramble to safety after fire breaks out

In a release, Merritt RCMP said a witness saw a “dark pick up truck” pull up to the buildings shortly before 2 a.m.

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“A few minutes later the structure was on fire and the pick up truck fled the area at a high rate of speed,” Staff Sgt. Josh Roda said in the release. “We would like to identify and speak with the occupant of the truck to determine what may have occurred.”

Merritt RCMP are asking anyone with information or video of the fire to contact them at 250-378-4262.

— with files from Radio NL

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