Large fire destroys Port Renfrew business

A Port Renfrew business that was soon to be opening as a hostel and adventure centre went down in flames early Saturday morning.

At approximately 5 a.m., Port Renfrew Fire Rescue responded to a call from an employee who was staying in the staff housing beside the property, saying the building had caught fire.

Mike Hicks, Capital Regional District director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, said by the time the fire rescue arrived at the scene, the wooden building was engulfed in 50 to 60-foot-high flames.

Firefighters, as well as some members of the community, worked until noon the next day to contain the fire.

Jack Julseth from Three Point Properties, who owns the property with a few family members, said he was happy that no one was hurt, and that no other properties were damaged.

“If there was going to be a fire, we were pretty blessed, and none of our operations have been affected at all,” he said. “It sucks that we put so much effort in to the building and it’s all gone, but business is usual and we’ll just have to rebuild that portion.”

The building, which was formerly known as the old Lighthouse Pub, was set to open in May as a retail centre in addition to the other adventure businesses in town owned by the same family.

“It’s definitely a financial hit, but there’s nothing we can do now but move on,” said Julseth. “We’ll still have bicycles, whale watching, a Frisbee golf course, kayaks, Renfrew Pub, Coastal Kitchen and the Seaside Cottages, we’ll still have everything, we just won’t have that one facility.”

He said the building was a lovely asset to their “master plan” but luckily it was not their main focus and now they will just use temporary facilities until that one is replaced.

“The last thing I want is anyone thinking we aren’t operational. We are still open, this is just a bump in the road,” Julseth said.

The fire finally smouldered out at approximately 5 pm the next day, and inspectors say it was likely caused by an electrical shortage.

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