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

Anticipation building for trip to D-Day anniversary for Chemainus students

Experience of being there promises to be a memorable one

Retired teacher’s generosity provides huge opportunity for two Chemainus Secondary students

Blitterswyk and Brown looking forward to being at Juno Beach for 75th anniversary of D-Day

Ladysmith storyteller chosen for TD Canadian Children’s Book Week

Ladysmith oral story teller Rachel Dunstan Muller recently returned from a tour of northern Quebec.

Cowichan Valley Regional District’s affordable-housing strategy moves forward

Board signs three-year financial agreement for initiatives

North Cowichan council denies rezoning bid for cannabis outlet in Chemainus

Site on Chemainus Road deemed too close to spaces frequented by youth

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

Most Read