British Columbia

Campbell River's historic Quinsam Hotel destroyed by fire

The historic Quinsam Hotel in Campbell River has suffered heavy damage in a late night fire.

Video shows large flames and heavy smoke coming out of 100-year-old building's roof

According to witnesses, the historic Quinsam Hotel in Campbell River caught fire around midnight (Forrest Logan/Facebook)

The historic Quinsam Hotel in Campbell River has suffered heavy damage in a late night fire.

"The building, which is a hundred years old this year, is probably a complete loss," said Campbell River Fire Chief Ian Baikie. 

"There is extensive damage to the second and third floor and water and smoke damage to the first floor."

Video posted to social media shows large flames and heavy smoke coming out of the roof of the 100-year-old building. 

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Baikie says one man was sent to hospital for smoke inhalation. Residents of the 12 rooms in the Quinsam Hotel escaped without injury but lost all their belongings.

It appears the fire broke out on the second floor of the hotel around midnight, just as the hotel bar was closing.

Fire crews arrived soon after but the three-storey wood framed building was already fully engulfed. 

Twenty firefighters and four trucks worked on the fire until 5 a.m. PT in challenging conditions that are common in old buildings.

"This building, initially built in 1917, has been added on to and altered over the years, making it quite non-standard and difficult to deal with," Baikie said.

"Because of different renovations over the years [the building] had different confined spaces where fire could travel and move readily. And it was built with materials that couldn't resist fire, i.e. it didn't have drywall on the walls and it didn't have good, solid firewalls."

In addition, fire crews could only fight the fire from the outside of the building, because there was only a single staircase connecting the floors.

The "Quinnie," as locals call it, has had numerous owners over the years including the We Wai Kai First Nation.

Baikie said determining the cause of the fire will be tricky, because the damage is so severe.

With files from Emily Brass

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