bc-091220-prince-george-airport-fire2

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire that destroyed a hangar at Prince George airport in British Columbia. ((Sumbitted by Steven Kostamo))

A search of the burnt-out shell of a Prince George, B.C., airport hangar has failed to turn up any sign of a missing man who was thought to have perished in the fire that destroyed the facility.

Vernon Martin, 55, has not been seen since his truck was found outside the hangar of charter airline Northern Thunderbird Air at Prince George airport on Dec. 19, 2009, the day the hangar was destroyed by a fire.

Investigators were forced to delay their search of the ruins until the spring thaw, because the water poured onto the fire, the cause of which is still undetermined, froze solid in the sub-zero weather.

But police found no trace of human remains during a recent eight-day search of the debris, said forensic pathologist Richard Lazenby.

'Well, the case is baffling; that's all I can say.' — RCMP Const. Gary Godwin

"We found no evidence of either a body, body parts or cremated skeletal remains," he told CBC News.

Lazenby said the blaze would not have destroyed human bones, and he's sure no one was inside when fire engulfed the hangar.

Mystery remains

That leaves the RCMP with a mystery, said Const. Gary Godwin.

"Well, the case is baffling; that's all I can say," he said.

Godwin says the RCMP are still investigating the incident as a missing person's case and asking anyone who might have information about it to call them.

"There were grounds for us to believe that Vernon Martin would be in that destroyed NT Air hangar," Godwin said. "His truck was parked outside, and in this country, you don't go too far without your vehicle."