Firefighters credit a sprinkler system with saving the 153-year-old Four Mile Pub after fire tore through the kitchen just after midnight on Tuesday.
The pub was closed and unoccupied when the fire alarm and automatic sprinkler system activated. Fire crews from View Royal and Colwood arrived at the scene at 12:47 a.m. They turned the sprinklers off and pulled in hoses to douse a blaze underneath one of the convection ovens.
The West Shore RCMP major crime unit deemed the fire accidental, after reviewing the pub’s video surveillance tape.
“Being able to look at the tape, it saved us two days of investigation — we can see it was clearly an accident,” said View Royal fire Chief Paul Hurst.
A plastic garbage can was unknowingly pushed beneath the stove, which was still cooling down from the night’s work. After 40 minutes the garbage can was hot enough to ignite a fire.
A sprinkler in the kitchen kept the fire from crawling up the walls of the three-storey, wood-framed building. However, because the stove partially shielded the flame, it did cause some damage to food and basement stockroom below.
The restaurant and pub seating areas, and the pub’s historic exterior, were unaffected. Still, Hurst estimates $50,000 to $100,000 worth of damage due to water and smoke.
The pub owners, Wendy and Graham Haymes, are vacationing in Mexico. Their children are co-ordinating the cleanup. Hurst has been in touch in the family and said they expect the pub will reopen tomorrow.
A total of 28 firefighters from View Royal and Colwood responded to the fire, bringing three engines, a ladder truck and a rescue truck.
The pub installed a sprinkler system in 2007 among other upgrades to meet current fire codes when they changed the basement from a liquor store to a sports pub.