OLIVER, B.C. – A half-dozen kegs of beer were saved from a burning hotel in May, but firefighters then helped themselves to the contents of one.
Two firefighters have been suspended. The kegs were taken to the town’s fire hall after the fire.
Mayor Pat Hampson said the incident put the town's trust in the volunteer fire department in jeopardy.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Dan Moskaluk confirmed that the Mounties are on the case. Several firefighters have been interviewed.
It’s not clear how many people are involved, but charges of theft under $5,000 are possible, Moskaluk said.
Firefighters have accepted responsibility and paid hotel owners for the keg, the mayor said.
“I'm impressed by that. It shows integrity to stand up and say we did something stupid,” he said, adding he didn’t think there was any malice or intentional wrongdoing involved.
Firefighters are under a lot of situational stress, he said.
A third firefighter has admitted involvement, but Hampson said the City Council will not order any further suspensions or punishments until the RCMP investigation is complete.
The city has instituted a ban on drinking liquor in any town building.
Crews from Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls assisted in battling the blaze, which gutted the building.