More than a year after a fire gutted an OK Tire location in Abbotsford, the company says cleaning up the charred remains of the building is “a priority for us.”
Currently cordoned off by metal fencing, the OK Tire building on South Fraser Way has remained in its burned-out state since the June 17 fire last year.
“Many items have frustrated our ability to rebuild, some of which are: an ongoing police investigation due to the suspected criminal nature of the fire, insurance, environmental concerns and current updated building requirements,” OK Tire national marketing manager Jaclyn Logan said in a statement. “It is our intention to proceed with stripping the building, but our ability to do so has unfortunately been delayed several times.”
On the fencing, signs indicate construction company N. Wallace & Company is working the site. The company’s website names an OK Tire rebuild as one of its in-progress projects, with 2018 set as the completion date.
“The Project is to re-build within the original building footprint, with two zero lot lines, after fire destroyed the original building,” the website reads. “The work includes hazardous material assessment, deconstruction of the existing building, and foundation upgrades for the new structural steel framed building.”
However, meeting that date would require all demolition and cleanup, as well as construction of the new building to be completed in just five months. An official with the construction company declined to comment on the project.
City of Abbotsford records indicate the property has one demolition permit dated June 21, 2017 in progress for commercial warehouse demolition. A second demolition permit application, dated July 31, 2017, for commercial tenant improvements is labelled as cancelled.
City of Abbotsford public affairs officer Alex Mitchell said comments on the progress on the property would have to go through the property owners, adding that she wasn’t aware of any complaints related to the building.
Logan said OK Tire is “just as disappointed that it has taken this long” to get to work on the building and the company is “working as quickly as possible to obtain the permits we need to move forward.”
“We are optimistic that we are quite close to being able to start work on the building due to some very recent communication we’ve received,” Logan said. “Again, addressing the current state of the building is a priority for us, as we care deeply about being good community partners.”
Shortly following the fire, the Abbotsford Police Department put out a call to the public hoping to identify a suspected arson in the fire through surveillance photos and video released depicting a male wearing dark clothing fleeing the location.
However, more than a year since the incident, APD spokesperson Sgt. Judy Bird said investigators have gained no new leads, with a suspect never identified through the footage.