UPDATE: It went up ‘like a tinder box’ – Campbell River hotel fire witness

Joanne Touchie was at the Quinny to have a celebratory graduation drink with her family last night when the fire alarms went off.

“We were just all sitting there not minding the fire alarm because we thought it was all false because we couldn’t smell any smoke or anything,” Touchie said.

Someone ran upstairs to see what was going on. Touchie said not five seconds later he was back downstairs telling everyone to get out.

“When we got across to Petro Canada all of it was just engulfed in flames and the building was just burning down like a tinder box,” she said. “It was just unreal.”

The fire department arrived on the scene just after midnight, said Fire Chief Ian Baikie.

“The fire was pretty showy at that time when we arrived, coming out of windows and doors on both those levels,” he said. “We weren’t able to do searches of that area because the fire was so involved. We moved to a defensive posture and put a lot of water on the fire from both the front and the back.”

Baikie is “fairly comfortable” that everyone got out safely, however one man was transported to the hospital due to smoke inhalation.

Now that the fire is out and the sun is up, the damage appears extensive.

“It’s a single story building with a pile of rubble on top of it with water and smoke damage below,” Baikie said.

Though the newer part of the building doesn’t have as much smoke damage, Baikie thinks it is a total loss.

“(But) we’ll have to wait for others who are more in that business to tell us,” he added.

The highway was closed in the area from midnight until 9 a.m. this morning for operations and motorist and pedestrian safety, Baikie said.

“We brought in an excavator at about 8 o’clock this morning and he pushed some of the teetering pieces back into the fire so the walls were leaning out on the second floor and such and we weren’t comfortable letting people be close to it,” Baikie said.

The department had four fire trucks on scene and 20 firefighters. The Salvation Army attended the event with their mobile kitchen to supply food and the Campbell River Emergency Social Services Team (CRESST) as well as the Red Cross was on site helping those displaced by the fire.

CRESST arrived on scene around 2 a.m. Rick Wall, the team leader and a volunteer, then arranged for a city bus to come to the site to be used as a mobile reception centre.

The first order of business was to get the now homeless people calmed down and out of the cold.

“We did the registrations and provided the emergency support services that the province authorized for 72 hours,” Wall said.

CRESST provided funds for necessetities and up to 72 hours of accomodation for the victims of the fire. They are being connected with other social services in the city for long term solutions, Wall said.

The fire department had responded to a small countertop fire earlier that day at the Quinsam Hotel, but Baikie said that fire did not cause the fire later in the day.

“All parts of that fire were done when I left there yesterday at five,” Baikie said. “There is no way that fire could have contributed to the thing at midnight…But the fact that we didn’t have a cause for the 4 o’clock fire might lend itself to further investigations as to what happened at midnight.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Shawn Decaire does a blessing ceremony for the Hama?Elas Community Kitchen in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Community Kitchen blessed by Laichwiltach First Nation

Hama?Elas Community Kitchen will provide safe place to eat for Campbell River’s vulnerable

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

North Island mayors say their voices should be heard by DFO before final decisions are made about fish farms. (Black Press file photo)
Mayors asking to be let in on fish farm consultations

DFO evaluating 18 Discovery Island fish farms and transitioning from open-net farms

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Most Read