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Bowser gas station destroyed by massive late-night blaze

5 departments respond to battle fire
A massive overnight fire destroyed the Esso gas station in Bowser on Dec. 6. (Michael Briones photo)

No injuries were reported after a fire destroyed a gas station in Bowser the evening of Dec. 6.

Fire crews arrived to see flames approximately 40 feet tall coming out of the Esso station on the Island Highway. Bow Horn Bay Fire Department received the call shortly before 10 p.m., according to Fire Chief Clayton Bucoviz.

“By the time we reached scene, the structure was fully involved,” he said. “Gas tanks, as you can see, were fully involved, as were the propane tanks behind us, tucked in behind the building.”

Fire crews immediately began suppression efforts on the building and the propane tanks, which Bucoviz said he considered especially dangerous.

“We had propane explosions,” he said. “This is probably the biggest fire that I’ve had in this area.”

Firefighters ran hoses through backyards in order to combat the blaze from behind, he added. BC Hydro was called to the scene.

“We did have to shut down the power grid, as the power lines were also on fire and the high voltage lines were both falling onto the ground,” Bucoviz said.

Bow Horn Bay Fire received mutual aid from the Coombs-Hilliers, Dashwood, Deep Bay and Qualicum Beach fire departments.

READ MORE: 6 fire departments respond after motorhome, motel unit catch fire in Dashwood

Deep Bay Fire Rescue member David Moase said there was a concern the fire could spread to a nearby wall of tires.

“If those tires caught fire, it’s extremely hard to put out,” Moase said. “And it would have probably meant that shed at the back would have started, which could spread right into Tomm’s [Food Village].”

Bucoviz said it appears the fire started in one of the vehicle repair bays and quickly spread to the rest of the building.

Suppression efforts took approximately five hours and required at least 60,000 gallons of water, according to Bucoviz.

BCEHS was on scene so firefighters could be rehabilitated over the course of the night.

The highway was reopened at approximately 3:30 a.m.

— NEWS Staff

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