No word yet on cause of Boston Pizza blaze

Firefighters do battle Sunday with a blaze that destroyed the Central Street location of Boston Pizza. - Alistair MCINNIS/Free Press
Firefighters do battle Sunday with a blaze that destroyed the Central Street location of Boston Pizza.
— image credit: Alistair MCINNIS/Free Press

Bob Toews had just returned to the city after a 10-day fishing trip when he learned his restaurant was going up in flames and irony was knocking at the door.

"I remember the last thing I said to my kitchen manager was: I don't want to hear from you unless the place is burning down," Toews said Monday.

"I don't think I'll use that one again."

Toews co-owns the Boston Pizza on Central Street that was consumed Sunday afternoon by a spectacular blaze, which also destroyed an attached Blockbuster video rental store.

Twenty firefighters from four halls were called out to battle the blaze, and 22 of their off-duty colleagues were called in to back-fill, according to Assistant Chief Greg Wilkins of the Prince George Fire Rescue Service.

"We were a long ways away from capacity" though, he said.

Traffic on Central Street and surrounding side roads was at a near standstill during the incident as people flooded the area to get a look at the blaze, which took firefighters a couple hours to beat.

"I'd characterize it as a very stubborn fire, because it was hard to access the roof area to get at the fire," Wilkins said.

The assistant chief said investigators were at the scene Monday and he was unable to speculate on the cause of the fire, which is thought to have started in the ceiling or roof area of the restaurant.

"It wasn't a kitchen fire and it definitely wasn't arson," Toews said. "I'm sure of that."

He said it was "pretty emotional" watching the destruction of restaurant he's owned for 20 years. Toews said insurance money should cover lost wages for the eatery's 50 employees and get the business up and running again. He's just tankful no one was hurt.

"You can't rebuild bodies too good," Toews said, "but you can rebuild a restaurant."



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