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Penticton  

Oliver pharmacy gutted by bizarre arson attack, but still working to provide prescriptions to community

Arson aftermath ordeal

At 4:15 a.m. on May 15, Chris Pasin woke up to the phone call no business owner wants to get from his security company.

"They told me that there was the fire alarm, and motion detectors were going off," Pasin said. "Then by the time I'm halfway there, the fire department is calling me saying, we need somebody to report here immediately."

Pasin co-owns Oliver Pharmacy Remedy's Rx on Fairview Road, which was one stop in a crime spree in the early hours of May 15. The alleged perpetrator, 28-year-old Steven Gallagher, has since been apprehended by police.

The pharmacy had a rock thrown through its door for the man to gain entry, who then lit a wall of clothing on fire

When Pasin arrived on scene, the store was full to the brim with smoke, but luckily, the flames had been quickly extinguished. The alleged arson had set a truck on fire just down the road, and when Oliver Fire Department crews responded to that, they glanced down the road and saw the pharmacy billowing smoke.

"And they were like, 'Holy smokes!' And then they were at the same time basically getting the call from our alarm company saying that we had a fire, so they were really fortunate to be able to jump on it right away," Pasin said.

Nonetheless, damage was extensive. All the merchandise in the front of the store was damaged beyond salvation, ceilings and floors need to be replaced and the majority of the pharmacy area stock in the back was ruined.

Pasin reviewed security footage after the event and discovered to his surprise that the only thing the arsonist stole was a Coke.

"He didn't even enter the pharmacy area at all, didn't even look at the drugs. He lit the fire on the way in the door — not sure what kind of arsonist lights a fire as he's entering the building as opposed to leaving, but anyway, that was his strategy," Pasin said.

"He went two thirds of the way down the aisle, looked in one of our offices, then carried on back out, double checked to make sure his fire was raging properly, stopped at the Coke machine to grab himself a drink and went out the way he came in."

After fire crews left the scene, the first thing on Pasin's mind was making sure their business didn't skip a beat providing necessary prescriptions to the community. They are back up and running as a pharmacy while restoration work is conducted on their main space, which is expected to take three to six months.

"Our number one priority is to be able to provide our customers with the same high level of service that they expect as we work to rebuild," Pasin said.

"We would like to thank our customers and the residents of Oliver for their patience, support, and kind words at this time. We would also like to thank our amazing Oliver Pharmacy staff, Sunrise Restoration, Argon Electric, the RCMP, and Oliver Fire Department for their service. We really do live in an amazing community."



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