Investigators spent Monday sifting through the ashes of a massive fire in downtown Nanaimo looking for what caused it.
As businesses left homeless by last Wednesday night’s blaze struggle to find closure in the tiny ruins that are turning up in the debris.
In the burned out shell of the historic Nanaimo building at 10 Commercial Street there’s more rubble than anything left. But occasionally investigators approach the owners of businesses keeping vigil at the fire line with a small piece they found that somehow survived in there.
“Then you don’t feel like you’ve lost everything,” says Tanya Gruszecki the owner of My Favourite Fabric Store.
Today it was a plastic ruler, from upstairs.
“Something that the graphic design artist would have used in his studio so I’ll return this to him so he can have something left,” says the Nanaimo woman.
“It’s just having something you know something left, like heck if I can save anything from my store I’ll frame it and I’ll put it on the wall because this was a big step for me and for a lot of us. ”
Hers one of the 15 businesses who were based in here before Wednesday’s massive blaze devoured everything they’d worked for.
“We’re kind of lost right now it’s why we keep coming back here,” says Cindi Cameron, owner of Luscious Me Boutique. “We have coffee and then we’re bonding and it gets you through it when you’ve got somebody who’s gone through it the same as you,” says Cameron.
Neither women have had anything from their shops salvaged and the presence of investigators for a second week tells them it will be a while yet before the can see inside.
“I need to see the damage. I need to see inside that it’s really gone. So that I can move on start over,” says Gruszecki.
But Investigators are still looking for the fire’s cause.
“We’re still conducting the investigation we’ve got quite a bit of digging yet to do,” says Capt. Ennis Mond of Nanaimo Fire Rescue.
While they continue on that job, this community’s rallying to help the businesses. From fundraising to finding new offices, and art supplies for the many artists who’ve lost everything.
“I just put a call out to the community to bring in art supplies and just in a couple days its astounding we’ve probably got three of these artists set up already,” says Willow Friday of Iron Oxide Art Supplies.
While each continues to hope that something even as small as a ruler of theirs can be found, as a reminder and measure to hold up one day of what their business survived.