Penticton business owner pushes for better cardboard and flammables storage after apparent arson attempt

Upset after arson attempt

A Penticton store owner is asking fellow businesses to keep cardboard and flammables out of the alleyway after finding what she believes to have been an arson attempt last week.

Amanda Stewart, the owner of Valley Hemp, said she got a call from her staff member on Friday morning after they found embers under the door and burnt cardboard outside the back entrance.

"At first, it didn't quite register with me that the pictures of the embers were inside the building," she said.

"It looks like they kind of blew the ashes under the door, as if there was a real attempt here to start some fire, because there's no other way those ashes got inside like that."

Stewart said she saw cardboard up against the neighbouring buildings before for garbage pickup and it didn't register at that time that it could be a fire risk.

"I've never seen anything like this before. I had a store burn down in 2001 due to my own careless cardboard storage. So I'm pretty picky about my cardboard storage now, we keep it all inside. It's away from anything flammable. I don't leave it stacked up against the building or anything because I've kind of learned my lesson."

She shared the story to bring awareness to other businesses to be conscious of where they're storing their trash.

"I'm hoping [for] a little awareness, maybe a learning campaign, possibly even a bylaw change, if we had to," she added.

Stewart reported the incident to RCMP and local bylaw officers.

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