RCMP are now investigating the fire that destroyed Vernon’s beloved gymnastics facility as the blaze has been deemed suspicious.
Vernon Fire Rescue Services concluded its investigation Nov. 9 into the major structure fire at North Valley Gymnastics facility. The blaze was sparked Oct. 31 in the 4700-block of 31st Street and firefighters were called at approximately 7:15 a.m.
“By the time firefighters received the call, the building was already heavily involved,” fire chief David Lind said. “Due to the nature of the fire and the material that was burning inside, crews had to use a defensive approach from the exterior of the building to contain the scene and keep everyone safe. Unfortunately, the outcome of the fire was that the entire building was lost.”
After a comprehensive fire investigation, the blaze has been deemed suspicious and the file has been handed over to the RCMP for further investigation. No more information about the fire is available at this time.
“An RCMP fire investigator attended the scene and has been working collaboratively with our partners at Vernon Fire Rescue Services since the incident,” Const. Chris Terleski said. “The joint investigation has reached a point where the cause of the fire, while still yet to be determined, is now considered to be suspicious. Given the size of the building and extent of the damage, a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the cause will take some time. We are mindful of the impact this loss has had on the community and are asking for everyone’s patience as our investigative team works diligently to determine the circumstances that led to the fire.”
Police are asking anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, or who has information that may assist the investigation, to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP at (250) 545-7171 and quote police file number 2021-20492.
“We have heard a lot of stories in the last several days about how this loss has impacted many people in the community,” said Lind.
“Our thoughts continue to be with those who are part of the gymnastics club or enjoyed using the facility. Although this feels like a great loss for many, it has also been encouraging to see how community members have started to rally together and keep moving forward with their love for the sport.”