Flames engulfed a popular downtown restaurant in Chilliwack Sunday morning.
The fire broke out around 8 a.m. at Banners Restaurant, just as people were gathering downtown for the annual Village Classic car show.
The restaurant had just opened for business when the fire broke out, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike Bourdon. “Employees of the business tried to extinguish the fire,” he said, “however, the fire quickly got out of control so the employees made the right decision to exit the restaurant and wait for fire crews to arrive.”
When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was venting from the restaurant. They entered the burning building and quickly located the fire in the kitchen area. But the blaze had spread above their heads to the ceiling area.
The firefighters retreated and went on the defensive, working to prevent the fire from spreading to the other businesses in the strip mall the restaurant is attached to.
That effort won praise from the manager of one of those businesses. Wrote Charm Allanson: “I manage Cascade Vitamins, two doors down and want to say a BIG thank you to all the firefighters who went above and beyond to help us all today!”
The restaurant was completely destroyed. An excavator was later brought in to knock down the remaining walls for safety. Adjoining units suffered extensive smoke and water damage.
Bourdon said the cause of the fire appeared to be accidental. One witness said it may have been a grease fire that spread to the kitchen vents.
Fire crews from all six Chilliwack fire halls were called into action.
There were no civilian or firefighter injuries.
Watch theprogress.com for more information as it becomes available.