A historic landmark near Nanaimo has been destroyed by fire and its cause is considered highly suspicious.
The Cassidy Inn was built prior to 1910, and was once “the” place to socialize for miners and farmers, but it had fallen into such disrepair it was ordered demolished. Now fire has brought it to the ground in a massive overnight blaze that keeping with tradition brought the community together one last time.
Crackling with over a century of history in its walls the historic old Cassidy Inn put on one last grande display before collapsing in the flames of a suspicious blaze Monday night.
“This is sad. This is part of our history that’s gone. It’s gone forever,” says Neighbour Faye Hanson.
For hours later the fire kept burning in the basement, where neighbour Gordon Botha, says it all appears to have started.
“The neighbourhood expected this kind of thing, because it’s been empty too long, not looked after,” says Botha.
He’s the one who called fire crews and RCMP in at 11:30 pm Monday night after spotting just a little smoke coming from the building.
“And I phoned the fire department and by the time they got here it caught fire,” says Botha.
The timing of this inferno is raising suspicions among neighbours.
“So are we surprised? No. Are we sad yes,” says Faye Hanson.
Officials are treating this as a suspicious fire because the owner had said there was no electricity to the building and it had been boarded up for weeks.
“I believe the RCMP would like to get in there tomorrow we are going to continue to try to cool it,” says Capt. Garry Hein of the Cranberry Fire Dept. “There’s asbestos, there’s other hazards that we have to determine so we are just going to basically contain the fire and continue to cool it.”
The Regional District of Nanaimo dates the building to pre-1910.
The Ladysmith Archives Brian Williams’ says it was once the social hub of the area.
“That would have been basically the only commercial establishment out there for the miners and the farmers.”
And it hosted many a teenager’s first beer.
“Cuz it was a hangout when we were younger we spent many an hour in there on Friday and Saturday nights,” says area resident Rob Scofield.
It even was a location in the 2011 filming of Superman.
Hosting miners, the drinking class for decades and even the man of steel himself, before going out on a cliffhanger of its own that’s left everyone around it guessing.