Staff, customers help put out fire at popular Sooke restaurant


Staff and customers at 17-Mile Pub in Sooke are being credited for putting out a fire that started at the popular restaurant.

Owner Ken Whitaker says the flames were from a smoker fire, which started around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night. He says flames could be seen coming from a canopy that was on an outdoor patio at the pub, located at 5126 Sooke Rd.

Whitaker says staff, and some customers, worked to put the blaze out, with a fire extinguisher hitting the flames early in the battle.

By the time Sooke Fire arrived, the blaze was out, and firefighters did an assessment to make sure everything was safe.

No one was injured, according to Christina Moog, communications coordinator with the District of Sooke.

“The first truck arrived on the scene within approximately 10 minutes of the call, encountering light smoke but no visible flames,” said Moog in a release Wednesday.

“Careful investigation of hot spots revealed no further fire activity was detected. Crews proceeded to clear smoke from the building to ensure the safety of patrons and staff before allowing the restaurant to reopen.”

Whitaker said there isn’t much damage to the pub, as the flames didn’t actually get to the building.

Ryan Chamberland is a 17-Mile regular and was sitting at the bar when he smelled smoke.

“I turned around and looked at the kitchen and everyone seemed normal there. Thirty seconds or a minute later, the phone rang, and the bartender told us the roof’s on fire,” he said.

Chamberland acted fast, joined by a friend and a kitchen staffer.

“The three of us found extinguishers, went up there and put it out,” he said.

Jason Humphries is the Emergency Program Manager with the District of Sooke and credits staff and patrons for their quick actions.

“The staff here is really well trained,” he said. “The kitchen staff know how to use fire extinguishers. They’re familiar with the procedures.”

Chamberland says when the chemicals cleared from the extinguishers, he went back downstairs and resumed his perch at the bar.

“We made it back to our beers, and it was karaoke last night,” he added.

Despite the few frantic moments, karaoke went on as scheduled. “It might have been half an hour late, but it went on,” laughed Whitaker.

Eric Stepura, who took video of the fire, said the staff were heroic, not only getting people out safely, but then also battling the fire.

“Sooke Fire Rescue extends gratitude to its mutual aid partners from Metchosin, Otter Point, and East Sooke Fire for their support during the incident,” added Moog.

The pub, established in 1894, “boasts of an atmosphere thick with history,” according to information on its website.

READ ALSO: Car blaze prompts reminder from Victoria Fire Department


Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!