PORT HARDY—The cause of a two-alarm fire that leveled a popular restaurant and injured five firefighters is still under investigation, said Port Hardy’s fire chief.
“The cause is unknown, but there’s nothing suspicious at this time,” said chief Schell Nickerson.
Port Hardy Fire Rescue crews responded to a 911 call about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 21 from a tipster who reported seeing smoke from Tom’s Kitchen, 6975 Market St.
The fire department responded with five units and 18 firefighters.
“When we arrived we could see smoke coming from the roof vent,” said Nickerson, who noted fire was soon seen.
“It was moving quickly and flames began shooting out the windows.”
Port McNeill Fire was called to lend a hand under a mutual aid agreement and six firefighters from there joined the battle.
Firefighters attempted to gain entry to the burning building, but were forced to retreat because of the intense heat and falling debris, said Nickerson.
“We then went into defensive mode,” he said.
Of the five firefighters who were injured because of icy conditions, two were treated by BC Ambulance on scene and one other was treated at the Port Hardy Hospital.
No one was seriously hurt, said Nickerson, who added a damage estimate was not available.
An investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the RCMP, said the fire chief.
Nickerson said he wants to thank the Port McNeill Fire Department, Port Hardy RCMP, BC Ambulance, BC Hydro, Port Hardy Esso, Pat from Odyssey Kayak, Aries Sercurity and the District of Port Hardy’s Bob King for their assistance.