Firefighters responded to reports of smoke in the area of 6th Street and England Avenue in Courtenay just after midnight Sunday morning.

They arrived to find a fire burning on the loading dock at the rear of the Too Good to Be Threw thrift store. Flames were spreading into the ceiling of the store at the time.

“The fire itself was pretty much contained to the ceiling area however there was some drop down that ended up in some of the combustibles inside the store creating some spot fires,” said Courtenay Fire Deputy Chief Kurt MacDonald. “There was mostly smoke and heat damage as a result of the fire up in the ceiling.”

Mutual aid was called for a ladder truck from 19 Wing Comox in case the blaze began spreading to other downtown buildings.

Goods on the main floor and basement are believed to have sustained extensive damage.

The store has been open for ten years and is a major contributor to the Society’s ability to help at-risk women and children in the community.

“It’s devastating,” said Comox Valley Transition Society Executive Director Heather Ney. “It’s hundreds of thousands of dollars that this social enterprise has been able to generate over the last ten years to support and sustain and expand the services of the transition society.”

About 9 people are now out of work and the society doesn’t know if it will re-open in a different location.

The cause is considered suspicious.

Dean Stoltz