The backside of the Pacific Mist Spa building at the south end of the property caught fire around 10:30 p.m. Jan. 1. Black Press file photo

Kingfisher spa now open following early January fire

Owner Bill Brandes offered personal funds to minimize the impact of the situation on his employees.

Following a fire in early January which closed the Pacific Mist Spa building at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort, the facility is nearly fully functional serving guests with a variety of treatments.

Aaron Greasley, the resort’s general manager said the fire, which was determined to be caused by some guests’ careless cigarettes and fireworks, put nearly 80 employees out of work since the incident during the late-night hours of New Year’s Day.

But the resort’s owner Bill Brandes wanted to minimize the impact of the situation on his employees.

RELATED: Employee credited with saving building following fire at Comox Valley resort

Greasley explained Brandes realized there would be a delay in funds for those who applied for employment insurance, so he told staff he would allocate funds personally for them if they needed it.

“That delay can mean a lot for some people, so he wanted to chip in. More than 50 employees took him up on it, and that could mean the difference of paying a bill or not.”

He added Brandes used about $30,000 of his personal funds to assist his staff.

“He was so happy to see his staff taken care of. Bill said he didn’t want to lose any of his staff members.”

The Jan. 1 fire was predominately external with water and smoke damage that was contained. The spa was closed at the time, and no guests were directly impacted.

The resort credited one of its key staff members who was nearby and immediately grabbed a garden hose and risked his life as he hosed down the building until the fire department arrived. Greasley explained at the time if it wasn’t for the staff member, the result of the fire would have been very different.

Following about six weeks of restoration work, the building is now open, with the exception of the lower level. The hydropath and massage rooms are open, and aesthetic services have moved upstairs. As there are fewer rooms available, Greasley said the facility has extended its operating hours.

He noted about five treatment rooms are a few weeks away from opening.

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