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

Scotiabank faces disgruntled Port Alice crowd

Residents were told the ATM will not be staying, along with the vault and other physical attributes.

VIDEOS: North Island Bantam Eagles place second at Tier 3 Bantam Championships in Port Hardy

“This is now a piece of North Island history and will be talked about for many years to come.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr’s sentence has expired

Eight-year sentence imposed in 2010 would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

B.C. river cleanup crew finds bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Trudeau sells housing plan in visit to hot real estate market in B.C.

Trudeau said the budget contains measures to help first-time buyers

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

The Viking Sky was headed for southern Norway when it had engine problems on Saturday afternoon

Fired B.C. farmland commission chair backs NDP rule changes

Richard Bullock agrees with Lana Popham, ALC records don’t

Most Read