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Community steps up in wake of fire that razed Bowser’s only service station

Fundraiser scheduled after blaze destroyed Bowser Automotive in December
A massive overnight fire destroyed Bowser Automotive on Dec. 6, 2022. (Michael Briones photo)

A devastating fire that destroyed a cornerstone of a small Vancouver Island community has inspired that community to give back.

A fundraiser is planned for Jan. 14 to support the Flegel family, after Bowser Automotive was destroyed by a fire in December.

The fundraiser is being planned by Philip Rotstein and Rosanna Pittella of One Voice Institute, in collaboration with the Lions Club, the Legion, Lighthouse Country Business Association and the Bow Horne Bay Community Club, as well as many local businesses.

“It’s not just making their family whole, it’s bringing back a business that is like a core business to the area. We don’t have any kind of service station or gas station in Bowser,” said Pittella. “Everybody’s feeling it.”

Pittella and Rotstein said they have heard many stories from neighbours who were helped out by the Flegel family and who appreciated having their gas pumped and oil checked at the service station over the years.

One Voice Institute will match all the ticket sales, Pittella said.

READ MORE: Bowser family thankful for community support after fire destroys service station

Pittella and Rotstein said it’s unlikely insurance will fully cover the costs of the fire, which also destroyed the home of manager Thomas Flegel and his wife Grace, because there are more regulations and requirements to build a service station now, compared to decades ago when it was originally established.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 211 (7035 Island Hwy W) and will include a silent auction, live music, a door prize draw, 50/50 draw, the JLA food truck, holiday food concession, a photo booth and free goodies and coffee.

Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased for $5 for a single or $10 for a family, and will be available in advance at the Legion, as well as Lighthouse Feed and Grain (7015 Island Hwy W).

Rotstein said if neither location is convenient, people can contact One Voice Institute at 250-884-0500 for assistance.

Donations to the family can also be made via a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend and by e-transfer to

— NEWS Staff

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About the Author: Parksville Qualicum Beach News Staff

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