The Old House Restaurant had to close for a few days following a Sunday morning fire that started on the exterior of the lounge portion of the Courtenay landmark at 17th and Cliffe.
Firefighters from Courtenay and Comox, who along with police responded around 2 a.m., contained the blaze to the rear of the 83-year-old building. There were no injuries.
“They (firefighters) did a phenomenal job of containing it to just the one part of the building,” said Staff Sgt. Bill Gibbings, noting the restaurant side was virtually undamaged.
“It could very well be accidental, however we can’t rule out totally that it wasn’t deliberate. The exact cause will probably end up being undetermined.”
Restaurant owner/manager Jeff Lucas, from speaking with an RCMP investigator, said a cigarette butt discarded into a planter on the patio appears to have ignited the fire.
“That lounge area was an addition many years ago, and a big external stucco wall that divided that from the rest of the restaurant,” Lucas said. “The fire did not get over there. In fact, the fire damage in the bar itself was contained to the roof.”
Minor water and smoke that reached the adjoining dining room was cleaned up. The kitchen was not affected.
Lucas said the restaurant will reopen Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
While recognizing the Comox Valley has seen its share of fires — including recent blazes that destroyed the Lorne Hotel and the former Buckerfields building — Gibbings said nothing indicates a trend.
The Comox Valley RCMP continue to work with the Courtenay Fire Department to determine the cause of the Old House fire.