A Tim Hortons in Nanaimo ravaged by flames is forced to shutter for months after a late-night fire, deemed arson, caused thousands of dollars in damage, according to RCMP.
Mounties say emergency crews were called to the restaurant on Northfield Road near Nanaimo Parkway just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2, after witnesses saw flames spreading quickly.
“Responding fire crews were on scene within minutes and managed to contain the spread of the fire to the exterior of the building,” RCMP said in a news release.
However, it’s noted that the restaurant’s interior suffered “significant” water damage. A photo shows cracked windows with broken ceiling tiles causing quite the mess.
In the release, police said it appears the fire started near the front doors of the building before crawling up the wood beams found above the entryway.
In an interview with CHEK News, assistant fire chief Stu Kenning summed it up as an extra “busy night and busy morning” for local firefighters.
“The fire was quite involved when we got there. It was located close to our fire hall, so [crews] got water on it very quickly and avoided any more damage than necessary,” said Kenning.
According to RCMP, the Tim Hortons fire is likely linked to a pair of blazes reported at other nearby businesses also on Tuesday morning.
At around 12:15 a.m., fire crews were called to a dumpster fire behind the Super Save Gas and Go at the corner of Northfield and Bowen roads and extinguished it before it spread and caused any damage.
RCMP say a third fire was set inside a garbage bin near the carwash in the same complex as the Tim Hortons. “Again, there was no damage other than to the receptacle,” according to police.
“These fires are most likely related and started by the same individual or persons,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, media relations officer for Nanaimo RCMP.
In a Tuesday afternoon update, police released surveillance footage of the Super Save Gas and Go fire suspect in hopes someone with information will come forward. In a photo, they’re seen carrying a gas can and wearing a hoody and black pants.
Kenning adds that the trio of fires are currently under investigation.
O’Brien says investigators are asking anyone who saw a vehicle or someone acting suspiciously in the area between 11 p.m. on Monday and 1 a.m. on Tuesday to file a police report, calling Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2354 and quoting file 2022-26537.