British Columbia

Last call at Gastown pub cut short by fire in parkade

Pourhouse pub was evacuated after a bartender started smelling smoke in the downtown Vancouver restaurant.

'It was to the point where guests could not finish their meals,' says bartender

Firefighters exit the parkade after extinguishing the blaze. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Patrons of a Gastown pub in Vancouver had their last call cut short after a van caught fire in a parkade right next door.

Kareem Ba, a bartender at the Pourhouse pub on Water Street, first caught wind of the fire when he started smelling strong smoke around 10:45 p.m. PT Thursday.

Bartender Kareem Ba said despite the fire, it was a 'smooth' Thursday night at the pub. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

"At the time, I was just plating up a drink and I noticed the smell of burnt plastic," he said.

"It was to the point where guests could not finish their meals, finish their drinks … it was very, very pungent, very unpleasant."

Ba said he saw the fire trucks and police cars fill the street, after noticing a large crowd gathering outside the parkade.

A large crowd gathered outside the parkade to watch firefighters attack the fire. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Single vehicle damaged

Firefighters used a ladder truck to access the fifth floor of the parkade, where they found the source of the smoke: a van that had caught fire.

"A little bit of access problems with it being stairwells, that's why we had the aerial ladder up to the fifth floor for quick extinguishment," said Battalion Chief Ken Abel.

"They got it knocked down quite quickly … it was all confined to the one vehicle."

Firefighters had trouble accessing the van, which was parked on the fifth floor. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

'A smooth night'

The pub, which is located right next to the parkade, closed early for safety precautions and patrons had to leave most of their meals unfinished.

"It was a very smooth night, it was kind of sad to have service end that way," said Ba. "A very odd way to punctuate the evening."

Meanwhile, Abel said the fire is not considered suspicious and officials are working to find the vehicle's owner.

No other vehicles were damaged by the fire in the parkade. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)