UPDATE: Pier 17 fire traced to smouldering cigarette butt

Cleanup continues at the Pier 17 building in Davis Bay after a fire last week.

Sechelt Fire Chief Trevor Pike said the May 9 fire started on the deck of the building’s only residential suite when a cigarette butt that had been thrown into a planter smouldered and set mulch and other dry material ablaze around 4 a.m. Pike said the fire ran up an exterior post and beam and was starting to spread through the attic of the building when the sprinkler system kicked in.

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When firefighters arrived, the fire in the attic had been suppressed and all that remained was to douse the flames on the exterior.

“That sprinkler system saved the building,” Pike said. “Pier 17 is still here because of the sprinklers.”

The two people in the unit at the time were able to get out safely after being awakened by the smoke alarm.

The businesses that suffered water damage included Gourmet Girl Café and the constituency office of Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons.

Simons said the damage to his office was extensive and they will need to move into a temporary space for as long as four months during repairs.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the FUSE space until repairs are complete at Pier 17,” Simons told Coast Reporter this week.

The Fuse Work Hub was recently opened by the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization at Teredo Square in Sechelt.

Constituents will be able to contact the office at the same number: 604-741-0792.

The owners of Gourmet Girl said May 9 via their Facebook page that they did not expect to be closed long. They reopened May 16.

“Thankfully there were no injuries, and we hope to be back up and running in the next few days,” the post said. “If you see a firefighter or other first responders around town, give them a high-five for being so helpful and supportive.”

Pike said the other businesses on the upper floor should also be able to reopen soon.

He said the incident should serve as a reminder that it’s not safe to dispose of cigarettes or other smoking material in planters, as they can often smoulder undetected for hours and then burst into flame.

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