Businessman loses everything in Lake Cowichan fire

Lake Cowichan firefighters on scene at fire that destroyed the Mountain Man Services shop in downtown Lake Cowichan. - Lake Cowichan Gazette
Lake Cowichan firefighters on scene at fire that destroyed the Mountain Man Services shop in downtown Lake Cowichan.
— image credit: Lake Cowichan Gazette

A woodstove is being cited as the likely cause of a fire that destroyed a Lake Cowichan home-based business Thursday night.

The workshop and attached buildings of Mountain Man Services, located at 52 South Shore Road, sustained heavy damage. The buildings contained wood products and equipment.

Lake Cowichan Fire Chief Doug Knott was back on the scene Monday with fire investigators and they've determined a woodstove in a workshop probably sparked the blaze.

Denis Pilon, owner of the business, told the Lake Cowichan Gazette the buildings are a complete write-off and were not insured.

"It's disheartening,'' said Lake Cowichan RCMP Cpl. Larry Olson. "The guy's been running this business and he's been doing a service to the community.''

One fireman was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

"It was not too major,'' said Knott of his fellow fireman. "He was just looked at and released.''

The fire presented a potentially more volatile situation, with BC Hydro called in to deactivate a live fallen power line that led to the workshop.

"The power line was flopping around on the ground that night,'' said Olson.

Knott said 23 Lake Cowichan firemen arrived around 9 p.m. to find a fully-involved blaze. They remained on scene until about 11:30.

Knott reminded the public to steer clear of firemen trying to do their work in the future. Firefighters had difficulty getting a truck close to the fire due to a crowd of people.

"There was some people in the way of vehicles,'' he said. "There was vehicles parked right in the way, sitting there watching.''

Pilon told the Gazette he fully intends to rebuild the business, even if he has to do it one stick of wood at a time.

Pilon added he's worried about customers who rely on him for products and for employees who will be out of a job for the foreseeable future.

Further heartbreak for Pilon came from the charred remains of his classic Harley Davidson. Insurance on the motorcycle had just expired three days before the fire.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668.


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