The Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub lies smouldering while firefighters conduct clean-up operations following a March 1 blaze. An investigation has traced the fire to the upper dining area. Photo by Curtis Papove

UPDATE: Police treating Salmon Point pub fire as ‘suspicious’

Blaze traced to origin but cause remains unknown, says fire chief

Police say that a devastating fire at Salmon Point Pub and Restaurant is considered suspicious, but they’re revealing little about the case.

Cpl. Ron Vlooswyk of the Campbell River RCMP said on Friday that police can’t provide any details about the case because a criminal investigation is underway.

“What I can tell you is it is treated as suspicious,” Vlooswyk said. “I understand the fire investigation is complete but the criminal investigation is ongoing.”

Oyster River Fire Rescue said on Thursday that the fire has been traced to its origin, but the cause remains unknown.

“Through the investigation we determined that it started in the upper dining room area,” said Bruce Green, chief of Oyster River Fire Rescue. “We ruled everything else out.”

Members of the fire department, RCMP and an insurance company investigator looked at evidence including burn patterns, Green said.

The question of what started the fire is now in the hands of the Campbell River RCMP and the insurance investigator, he said.

Meanwhile, the fate of the landmark gathering place remains unclear.

Asked about whether the pub will be rebuilt, business owner Jim Flohr said, “I hope so.”

The building itself – which was completely gutted by flames on March 1 – belongs to the owners of Salmon Point Resort, he said.

Staff at the resort declined an interview request on Thursday.

VIDEO: Fire engulfs Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub south of Campbell River

The resort includes an RV park, a marina, cabins and other amenities.

The value of the loss remains unknown, said Flohr.

The larger property has an assessed value of more than $1,900,000, according to BC Assessments.

Heartbreaking scene

When the fire triggered an alarm in the early hours of March 1, Flohr attended the scene.

Watching the pub burn to the ground was devastating.

“Your heart was broken,” he said. “It was horrible.”

Flohr is a member of Oyster River Volunteer Fire Rescue, but he didn’t participate as a firefighter.

He’s been running the business since December 2012.

Even if Flohr had attended as a firefighter, he wouldn’t have been allowed to fight it due to the emotional attachment, said Green.

“Your mind is going somewhere and you’re not going to be concentrating… it would be risky,” Green said.

RELATED: Salmon Point patrons lament loss of gathering place destroyed by flames

Most of the firefighters at the scene were from Oyster River’s volunteer fire department, Flohr said, and he praised their service.

“Oyster River should feel very fortunate to have this fire department on their side,” he said.

Most of the pub’s former employees have new jobs lined up, he said.

Businesses in the Campbell River-Courtenay area have contacted him directly to hire the former staff, Flohr said.

“A lot of businesses have stepped up.”

This story was updated with information from the RCMP on March 8.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATE: Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre

Hospital and care residence in Nanaimo see flu outbreaks

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s Influenza A outbreak confined to rehabilitation unit

Smoke detector buys time in Gabriola house fire

Residents’ correct action kept fire from spreading, says fire department

VIU Mariners take the field for baseball season

Vancouver Island University baseball club begins CCBC play this Saturday

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash in Ladysmith

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup truck Friday

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Beefs & Bouquets, March 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read