Nova Scotia

Coldbrook restaurant owner devastated by fire

The owner of a Coldbrook restaurant says his life's ambition was destroyed when the building went up in flames on Wednesday night.
The Pine View Inn in Coldbrook was destroyed by fire. (Phonse Jessome/CBC)

The owner of a Coldbrook restaurant says his life's ambition was destroyed when the building went up in flames on Wednesday night.

"Crushing. It's an entire lifetime worth of dreaming," said Shane Robilliard, who bought the bar and grill inside the Pine View Inn in September.

The newly-renovated restaurant had just opened on Dec. 1.

"Countless hours of preparing and renovating. I did all the renovations myself and it's crushing."

Robilliard hired 13 people to run the two restaurants. They are now all out of work.

"I have paycheques in my car because today's payday and I have to go meet them at a different location to hand out paycheques," he said Friday.

When the fire started on Wednesday night, Robilliard was getting ready to close his restaurant. He said at first, it was just a bit of smoke and everyone went outside.

The fire spread quickly and the blaze was raging in the motel's convention centre by the time fire crews arrived at about 9:30 p.m. Eventually, about 200 firefighters from 17 fire departments in the Annapolis Valley were called in to help contain the blaze.

Shane Robilliard bought the bar and grill inside the Pine View Inn in September. (CBC)
On Friday, crews were back at the scene to put out some smouldering hot spots.

Derwin Swinemar, a deputy fire marshal, said investigators are focusing on the lower level of the inn for the cause of the fire.

"It's only in its infant stages of the investigation and right now, it's unclear of the origin or the cause," he told CBC News.

Swinemar said the fire is difficult to investigate because of the amount of rubble that exists on the site and the instability of what's left of the motel.

He said it could be several days before they get the rubble cleared away and get a good look at what happened at the site.

Robilliard said he has no idea what to do now.

"I feel like half the person I was on Tuesday, because this was everything that I had," he said.

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