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.
Some firefighters were being treated for smoke inhalation.
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.”
The pub’s owner is believed to be out of town.
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.
More information to come as it becomes available.