Firefighterswere called to a blaze at the Cobblestone Pub in Cobble Hill this morning.
Smoke was visible from the exterior of the building, but no flames were seen.
Several dozen people milled about, drinking their morning coffee and watching the emergency responders work.
John Johnson and his coworker were headed to work when they saw the smoke.
“We were just on our way to a job and we pulled over and all the fire trucks were racing by and the Cobblestone had a bunch of smoke coming out of it,” he said. “Then firefighters were just doing their thing.”
“We heard sirens at about 8 o’ clock from the post office and when they opened the door the smoke was puking out,” said another witness.
Another witnesses said she believed it may have started in the pub’s dryer shortly after the janitorial crew left. That information has not been confirmed.
The Shawnigan Lake Fire Department, Mill Bay Fire Department and Cowichan Bay Fire Department were all called to the scene, as were the RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Services.
By about 9:15 a.m. Shawnigan Lake fire chief Keith Shields said he had “no idea” how the fire started but “looks way better now than it did.”
By the lunch hour, Mill Bay Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Dean Kwasny said roughly 24 firefighters from the three departments had attended.
“The dryer is not confirmed at this time. The source of fire is undetermined,” Kwasny said. “There is major heat and smoke damage, and some fire damage as well. The business will be out of service for an undetermined period.”
The deputy chief also noted that one upstairs tenant is now displaced but, luckily, nobody was injured.
The pub’s owner is believed to be out of town.
On the Cobblestone Pub Facebook page owners thanked patrons for their support.
“Thank you so much to all our wonderful customers for your messages of concern,” read a message posted Friday afternoon. “As most of you know the pub is closed till further notice. The liquor store is still open to serve you although we are only able to take cash at the moment. Again thank you to all our great customers for your support.”
The family owned Cobblestone has been a fixture in the village since 1983 and for many years prior to that as the Cobble Hill division of the Cowichan Creamery.