Sunday, May 02, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, April 30, 2010)

The Epicurean fire dominates the news media of the city, Vanderzalm is coming to town and let the dance competition begin, some of the items of note from Friday's news files.

Daily News, front page, headline story
VICIOUS FIRE LEVELS THE FORMER EPICUREAN BUILDING -- The Daily News offers up their eyewitness accounts of Friday morning's downtown fire (located as it was directly across the street from their offices) providing some background on the efforts of the Prince Rupert Fire Department to bring the blaze under control.

More prep work for the Vander Zalm arrival in town as the former Premier works his way towards Prince Rupert to lead the ongoing battle against the Liberal's agenda of a Harmonized Sales Tax.

And another look at this weeks annual BC Dance competition set to run until May 8th at the Lester Centre of the Arts.

The Sports section featured auto racing as the subject for a Friday with a preview of the Northwest Drag racing scene set to get underway in Mid May in Terrace

(Daily News Archive items for April 30)

Vicious Fire levels the former Epicurean building
Sha-Zalm! ready for the North coast
It's No. 20 for local dance competition

The Northern View
Fire in downtown Prince Rupert being treated as suspicious-- The latest details on the investigation into Friday mornings fire were posted to the weekly paper's website (see article here)

CFTK TV 7 News
Prince Rupert firefighters battle early morning blaze-- CFTK provides it's report on Friday morning's developments in downtown Prince Rupert (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
No items of note for Prince Rupert were posted on the Daybreak site on Friday

 Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now. The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page, headline story
Vicious fire levels the former Epicurean building 
By George T. Baker
Staff Writer 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, April 30, 2010

 A full squadron fire department response could not save the former Epicurean restaurant from a fire building early Friday morning, leaving some residents homeless and local fire fighters exhausted.

The fire began at approximately 2 a.m. and the cause is still under investigation by Prince Rupert RCMP and the Prince Rupert Fire Department.

Fire Chief Dave McKenzie told the Daily News that firemen did rescue three people from the fire, though because of the attention paid to the fire, no description of whom they rescued was available.

“Once they hit the ground they were running.

 “We did not have time to really do too much because we were first on the scene and we had to go right into rescue mode to get these people out,” said McKenzie.

McKenzie added they do not know if it was only three people inside at the beginning of the fire and where the origins of the fire began.

 “People had got out and people were still trying to get out that we got out, and then we ended up taking another one out through the window,” said McKenzie.

McKenzie said that available full squadron responded to the fire call this morning, with 13 firemen on scene battling the blaze.

Using their new truck, the squadron was able to quell the fire by about 4 a.m. McKenzie credited the truck’s new monitoring system on its ladder with helping keep the fire at bay, and not spreading to the other buildings and businesses – the Moose Lodge, Carlyle Sheppard, Frank the Barber Shop, Rhodos and the Coast Hotel – which was great relief to many of the people employed in the buildings.

One employee at Frank’s told the Daily News that she was notified about the fire at 2 a.m. and was told that the only thing to worry about was if the fire jumped roofs because the Carlyle building was made of concrete and would hold up.

At 9 a.m., the 700 block of Second Avenue West was covered in wood debris, ash and fire hose. Police yellow taped the surrounding scene, keeping onlookers to the perimeter.

A passerby, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, said that at 11:30 a.m. the previous evening, he passed by the building and believed he heard a party taking place. And when he passed by again, leaving a local establishment, Seagull said that’s when he saw the fire.

The overhang in an alley just off Seventh St. was badly crumpled. The overhang is a notorious location for drinking and loitering, with police attending the scene on almost a daily basis.

This is the second fire to destroy a building on Second Ave. West in just over one year.

That last fire destroyed the Inlander Hotel, a hotel that housed many of the City’s hard to house. Four locals were charged with arson in connection to the fire.

The Epicurean building fulfilled a similar purpose, likely placing more pressure on the city’s available affordable housing.

 Built in 1975, the building once was home to the Epicurean Restaurant during the city’s stronger economic days. It shut down for good in 1998. The upstairs was always used as a living space.

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