Four Mile House Restaurant in View Royal remains closed after a structure fire left significant damage on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
David Johannessen, a chef at Four Mile, says Megan Thomas, the eldest daughter in the family-run business, was the first one to smell smoke from her office.
“She went to go see what was happening and I went up to find the attic full of smoke,” Johannessen says.
“It was hard to breathe. It was really bad up there. I called 911 that moment and they were here really quick. I’m just glad it was during the day and not in the middle of the night.”
Power was restored to the pub around noon on Wednesday, Oct. 23, according to Johannessen.
“It’s good because if it [the power] wasn’t, we would have had to get rid of all the food,” says the chef of 24 years. “Luckily, there wasn’t any damage to our equipment. The brewery is all good. I think we’ll be open in the coming days.”
The pub owners, Wendy and Graham Haymes, are out of town. Their children are coordinating the cleanup.
View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst said fire crews from View Royal, Langford, Colwood, and Esquimalt were called to the pub shortly after 1 p.m. for reports of smoke on the second floor.
During their investigation, Hurst said crews experienced rapidly deteriorating conditions on the second floor of the restaurant. He said the fire seems to have started in the kitchen, with wind conditions sucking the fire into the walls and floor space on the second floor.
“It travelled rapidly in the second floor,” Hurst said.
Crews were able to control the fire using hose lines and forceful entry and the fire was put out shortly after 3 p.m.
Hurst said 44 firefighters from the different departments were called to the scene as part of mutual aid. He said the fire was difficult to find at first but once the floors and walls were opened firefighters found it.
“Our concern was that this fire was going to take off on us if we didn’t get on it quickly,” Hurst said. “The sprinkler system didn’t activate because the fire was in the walls and the floor.”
Everyone in the restaurant was already evacuated when fire crews arrived and there were no reported injuries. BC Ambulance Service was at the scene to check on firefighters who were inside the building.
“If this fire had occurred after hours when nobody was in the building and it was undetected it probably would have taken the building out,” Hurst said. “But really quick work by fire crews initially on scene and with support from Esquimalt, Colwood and Langford, they managed to contain the fire quickly.”
Crews had to pull ceilings in the kitchen as well as cut through the floors and take down walls on the second floor.
“Damage is going to be in the high-six figures,” Hurst said.
The cause of the fire is still undetermined but is under investigation.
– With files from Shalu Mehta.