Fire in Port destroys three buildings

  • Apr. 25, 2008 1:00 p.m.

By Heather Ramsay–A raging fire destroyed three buildings in Port Clements in the early morning hours last Friday. Fire chief Craig Beachy said the fire department received a call at 1:55 am Friday (April 25) and when they arrived on the scene three buildings on Cedar Avenue were in flames. Twelve hours later, all three buildings, housing businesses called the Retreat, Ship Shape and Candy’s Katering, were gone, said Mr. Beachy. “What wasn’t burned we had to demolish to put the fire out,” he said. One of the buildings had been built around a mobile unit, said Mr. Beachy, and with an airspace under the floor, the fire department had hack their way in to get at the fire. Mr. Beachy said his fire fighters were limited by the water supply in Port Clements, which is always an issue. “I had more fire than hose lines,” he said. The fire-fighting caused problems with the water supply in Port, something Mr. Beachy wasn’t surprised to hear. “We were drawing all the system could supply,” he said. Children attending Port Clements Elementary school were sent home at 1pm because the water had been shut off, said School district Secretary treasurer Ken Campbell. Eighteen members of the volunteer fire department fought the fire until 6 am when some had to head to work. Mr. Beachy and a few others were at the scene for 12 hours. He said the fire was still smoldering at 3 pm Friday and probably would be for a couple of days. Mr. Beachy said RCMP members were at the scene and BC Hydro helped get rid of some power lines that were in the way. He said an insurance adjuster was also at the scene. The insurance company will try and determine the cause of the fire. Nadine Whittle watched the sparks and flames for about an hour. “It was unbelievable, losing three buildings all in a row,” she said. She took some video footage so she could show her mother, who used to run Bunny’s Drape and Sew out of the building where Ship Shape once was. Others reported trouble with telephone lines in town. Heather Nelson-Smith at the village office said one of their lines was down and other neighbours had complained, but the outages were sporadic. Mr. Beachy didn’t think any of the telephone lines had been impacted.