Suspicious fire breaks out at popular grocery store in Oliver, B.C.

Click to play video: 'Suspicious fire at Oliver grocery store, arson suspected'
Suspicious fire at Oliver grocery store, arson suspected
Suspicious fire at Oliver grocery store, arson suspected – Mar 14, 2022

The owners of Global Grocers in Oliver, B.C., said they are in good spirits despite losing a portion of their store in a fire.

“It is quite overwhelming, but we are focused people. We like to look at the positive things rather than pondering on the negativity and this is the spirit we woke up with today,” said Global Grocer co-owner, Riz Gaba.

Read more: Arson suspected in Oliver grocery store fire

Fire crews were called out around 10 p.m. on Sunday, after reports of smoke in the area. Once they arrived the call was quickly upgraded to a structure fire.

A crew from the Osoyoos fire department was requested for mutual aid as well.

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Young pitchman helps with family grocery business in Penticton

“We were able to get on scene quickly, knock things down and battle with the fire for a couple of hours. Just making sure it hadn’t extended into the main portion of the building,” said Oliver Fire Department spokesperson, Rob Graham.

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“There were definitely some high winds like today that were pushing the fire towards the main structure, so we had that to deal with as well.”

A wooden fence, a storage area and another part of the rear building have burned to the ground.

Gaba and her family live next door to the store and said if it wasn’t for the quick thinking of a passerby, the damage could have been a lot worse.

“The main store is all okay. Thank you to our customer, in fact. He stopped, he was the one who called the fire department, he was the one who woke us up from the house as well,” said Gaba

“And thank you to the fire department, RCMP, paramedics and first responders. They are the ones who saved our bread and butter.”

Read more: ‘A total loss’: Sunday morning fire destroys building in Oliver, B.C.

The Gaba family said that the community has rallied behind them, and they hope to re-open in a couple of days.

“We have a great community. Since last night we have been getting messages, people are stopping by checking on us, asking if we need any help,” added Gaba.

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“We are just going to clean out everything, air the store out so that there is no smokey smell left. We are hoping to open tomorrow and if not tomorrow then we will give it a couple of days.”

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but it has been deemed suspicious and arson is suspected.

“The reason we think it might be suspicious is due to the time of the night, just the nature of the call. There was no power to the building, so we know we don’t have anything electrical that was involved. So, we are just looking at some evidence that way that may lead us to believe that it was set,” said Graham.

An investigation is underway to determine how the fire started.

Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to contact the RCMP.

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