GoFundMe launched for owner, workers of Comox gas station destroyed by fire

GoFundMe launched for owner, workers of Comox gas station destroyed by fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for the owner and workers of a Comox gas station that burned to the ground earlier this month and left several people jobless.

Janet Kosar started the online fundraiser earlier this week and says she hopes to raise $10,000 for the employees of the now-shuttered Esso, which erupted in flames on Saturday, May 20, after a driver hit a gas pump.

“We’ve been customers with them for years, and, you know, they’re all very, very kind people there. The owner, in particular, is very generous to the community, and he didn’t think twice about risking his life to save the elderly lady who hit the pump,” Kosar told CHEK News Wednesday.

“He’s always been extremely good to all the customers there.”

Kosar says funds collected through the GoFundMe, which raised nearly $1,300 by 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, will go to the five people who worked at the gas station, including one woman who’s now struggling to pay her bills and others who don’t qualify for employment insurance.

“She can only work part-time. And, you know, she wasn’t even sure how she was going to make rent,” said Kosar. 

“I was talking with one of the elderly ladies that work there, and unfortunately, there are some there on disability, so they don’t qualify for EI. And the insurance process is not something that’s going to happen overnight for the owner, and he has a family himself. He’s very concerned for (his workers).” 

Gas station owner Junyi Liu was working at the time of the fire and told CHEK News last Thursday that he witnessed the collision, where a driver hit a pump and sheared it off to spark an instantaneous fire.

“At that moment, there were only two things on my mind. First one was to save her, another one is to try my best to put down the fire,” said Liu.

A nearby resident captured video of Liu grabbing a fire extinguisher and opening the car’s passenger door before running around to the driver’s door and pulling the woman to safety — mere centimetres from the blaze. Another man was also seen rushing to the woman’s aid.

“I was scared for sure, but I wasn’t really thinking about it,” said Liu.

READ ALSO: Comox humble hero speaks about fiery gas station rescue

Fire officials believe the woman, who was uninjured, hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes causing the car to hit the fuel pump. The plume of smoke from the Anderton Road gas station was visible throughout the Comox Valley, including in Royston.

Kosar says she’s blown away by the community support so far.

“Even if we could get enough to get them through for a couple of weeks until some of them can get a job,” she said. “There are a lot of good people in the Valley, and they’re responding with positive feedback.”

People can donate to the GoFundMe by clicking here.

“They’re a big part of the community, and there are a lot of people that want to help them,” added Kosar.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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