A structure fire at Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay closed the Trans-Canada Highway in both directions briefly on Friday afternoon, shortly after 1 p.m.
The fire took place at the mall at the corner of the TCH and Shawnigan-Mill Bay Road. The Shawnigan Lake Fire Department and the Cowichan Bay Fire Department joined the Mill Bay Fire Department to fight the blaze.
“Thankfully it wasn’t what it could have been,” said Captain Dean Kwasny of the Mill Bay Fire Department.
“If this building ever really did go up, it would be a mess.”
There’s a lot of old, dry cedar in the building, Kwasny explained, making it a fire hazard.
“We’re very worried about this place now,” he said. “Thankfully it was a small fire contained to one area.”
Speculation was that the fire may have been started by squatters who had set up inside the unoccupied building.
Black smoke billowing from the building impacted visibility on the highway.
By 1:45 the highway had reopened to traffic.
More information as it becomes available.