A long-time Chemainus business sustained extensive damage following an early-morning fire Wednesday.
Fire erupted at Jones Marine Services Ltd., previously known as Chemainus Towing for many years, on the Chemainus waterfront around 4:30 am.
When firefighters arrived, “it was a fully-involved building,” said Chemainus Fire Department deputy chief Kevin Millard.
Crews from Chemainus and Crofton fire departments were first on the scene, followed by Ladysmith’s aerial ladder truck. North Cowichan’s South End department was put on stand-by. Chemainus and Crofton departments each attended with two pumper trucks.
Firefighters got to see the sun rise over the waters off Chemainus, but only through the smokey haze of the blaze they were fighting. They were still on scene mopping up until nearly 11 a.m.
Ladysmith fire chief Ray Delcourt noted his Ladysmith crew was able to park its vehicle in an apartment building’s lot above the structure and extend the ladder out over top.
No one from the company was immediately available for comment after surveying the scene.
Due to the early hours, there was no concern about locating any persons within the building. “All staff was off-site at that time,” noted Millard.
Millard said the blaze initially spread from a maintenance shop in the two-storey building. “It was a bit of a fight,” he said to get the fire under control.
Work was also done from around, on top and inside the building as well.
“At this time, it’s under investigation,” said Millard.
The fire was just north of the BC Ferries terminal serving the Chemainus-Thetis Island-Penelakut Island route.
A BC Ferries spokesperson confirmed sailings were originally running as scheduled but have since been delayed.
— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) February 28, 2018
-with a file from Sarah Simpson, Cowichan Valley Citizen