North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are investigating after a suspicious fire in the early morning hours of Saturday, Feb. 10 gutted several small businesses in Duncan.
“We are requesting the public avoid the area as the investigation is ongoing and surrounding roadways are cordoned off,” said Staff Seargent Ken Beard of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP.
The call about a structure fire in the 5000 block of York Street came in just before 1 a.m., and the North Cowichan Fire Department found the building, where multiple businesses were located, including the Good Neighbours Thrift Store, completely engulfed in flames.
Occupants of neighbouring properties had to be evacuated.
A criminal investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, RCMP said in a press release, with Vancouver Island District RCMP Forensic Identification Services and the North Cowichan fire inspector on the case.
If anyone has information about the fire they are asked to contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.