Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officers were probing damage for clues to what started a fire in the Franklyn Street Gym early Thursday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo heritage building damaged by early morning fire

Franklyn Street Gym in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter suffers extensive fire, smoke and water damage

A Nanaimo heritage building has suffered extensive damage from a fire that broke out early Thursday.

The Franklyn Street Gym, which has been in operation since 1922 and is listed on the City of Nanaimo’s heritage registry, suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage after a fire broke out inside the building at about 12:30 a.m.

Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief fire prevention officer, said investigators were still trying to determine what started the blaze, appeared to have broken out on the gym floor near an entrance door.

“We’re trying to determine if it’s by natural cause or if it’s caused by someone else,” Mond said.

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The fire was well advanced by the time firefighters arrived and had burned inside a wall up to into the roof of the Selby Street side of the building and was spreading across the roof of the building.

“It’s an old balloon-frame building,” Mond said. “Basically, your studs go from the basement straight up … no fire breaks … it just chimneyed right up to the roof, then the underside of the roof and then travelled toward the ocean. The sprinklers went off so there’s lots of water damage.”

Investigators were probing the inside of the wall for clues to what started the fire and were also interviewing potential witnesses.

There were no reported injuries.

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating, as the fire has been deemed suspicious.

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