British Columbia

Fire that destroyed Kitsilano's Topanga Cafe ruled accidental

Fire officials have wrapped up their investigation of the blaze that broke out July 5 at a popular Kitsilano restaurant.

Blaze likely caused by discarded cigarette or some other 'smoking material,' says fire official

Residents in neighbouring properties awoke July 5 to smoke billowing from the Topanga Cafe in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

The fire that destroyed a popular Mexican restaurant in Kitsilano was accidental, says a fire official. 

The blaze that broke out at the Topanga Cafe on the morning of July 5 started outside, behind the building.

It was likely caused by a discarded cigarette or some kind of smoking material, said Capt. Jonathan Gormick with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services. 

But it's unlikely investigators will know the exact cause, given the destruction, Gormick said. 

Investigators interviewed multiple witnesses and reviewed video and photo evidence, including footage captured of the scene before fire crews arrived.

Vancouver police said there's no evidence of suspicious activity and it won't be initiating a criminal investigation. 

The City of Vancouver amended its fire bylaw in 2017 to include a $500 fine for unsafely discarding cigarettes. 

More than 50 firefighters battled the fire at its peak. (Neil Bacon)

'No one was hurt'

The smoke forced residents of neighbouring buildings out of their homes, but there were no reports of injuries.

Some of the neighbouring properties suffered smoke and fire damage, Gormick said. 

"No one was hurt. No one was killed. I call that a win," he said. 

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