Flare fired by teens inside Nanaimo convenience store causes extensive damage, police say

Flare fired by teens inside Nanaimo convenience store causes extensive damage, police say

Nanaimo RCMP and fire investigators are examining a damaged convenience store Saturday night after a suspicious fire that they say was caused intentionally by two teenagers.

The fire broke out at the Circle K store at the Petro-Canada gas station on Departure Bay road shortly after 9 p.m.

Firefighters managed to put the fire out quickly and no one was injured but the store suffered extensive water, fire and smoke damage.

In a media release issued Sunday, Nanaimo RCMP say two 16-year-old males walked into the store at around 9 p.m. and selected a few items. Before leaving, one of the teens fired a “single tube flare” in the direction of a Circle K employee.

The flare ignited merchandise and forced the employee out of the store and caused extensive damage to the building, according to police.

“This was a reckless and extremely dangerous act that has significantly impacted a local business, traumatized the clerk and could have resulted in significant personal injury to the employee,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP media spokesperson, said in a press release.

RCMP have identified both suspects, who are 16, through security footage but have not been able to locate them.

Speaking to CHEK News, O’Brien said the teens are both known to police.

“They’re both known to us. They’re 16 years of age and we’re currently looking for them,” he said, adding. “The clerk was obviously traumatized and our victim services are assisting with him and the investigation is continuing.”

Katidja Zaidi, a witness who managed to capture the fire on video, said its alarming that teens would consider starting a fire near a gas station.

“That’s scary to think that two kids would think that putting a fire next to a gas station would be a good idea,” Zaidi said.

The store which is normally open 24/7 is now closed indefinitely.

This story was originally published by CHEK on May 2 and has been updated with the latest information.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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