A new distillery in Sooke has burned to the ground following an early morning fire on Tuesday.
Firefighters with the Sooke Fire Department were alerted of the blaze at approximately 4:45 a.m. when they received reports from residents about the sounds of explosions.
The reports led them to a commercial business — a brand new distiller named Island Shiners — where authorities found the building engulfed in flames.
Sooke Fire Chief, Kenn Mount, said that 33 firefighters in total responded to the blaze from East Sooke, Otter Point and Metchosin.
When crews arrived on the scene, Mount says they immediately went into a defensive mode in order to contain the fire from spreading to neighbouring businesses.
Mount says that firefighters were able to fight the fire effectively while eliminating the risk of further on-site fire hazards such as propane fuel.
Although the fire has been put out as of Tuesday morning, the structure has been completely lost.
“They are absolutely devastated,” Mount said regarding the owners of the facility. “It has been their life’s work to get this facility up and going.”
Island Shiners held their grand opening of the new Sooke facility on April 15 and were a featured spot on CHEK’s The Upside with Ed Bain and Jeff King last week.
“It’s an absolute shame,” Mount added. “The fire department feels very sad for them.”
Mount says the Island Shiners team had been very engaged with members of the Sooke community over the last few years and were “doing everything right” as they set up the business.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the distillery fire.
Sooke Fire Department says it is early on in the investigation and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Crews intended to return to the site of the fire later this afternoon.