The Port Pub and CJ’s Place restaurant are closed indefinitely following a fire in a room above the pub on Saturday morning (July 7).
The Port Alberni and Cherry Creek fire departments responded to an alarm activation at the pub at around 8:30 a.m. “We found a fire had started in one of the rooms and the sprinkler had activated,” Port Alberni deputy fire chief Wes Patterson said. “Firefighters extinguished the fire.”
Patterson said there were no injuries in the fire, and it was caught early. “Fire and smoke damage was confined to one room, however with the water damage, power was shut off to the building,” he said.
“Thankfully the fire started in a sprinklered area of the building and the sprinkler minimized fire and smoke damage. It shows the importance of having a well-maintained sprinkler system.”
The fire happened in a room right above CJ’s Place and the kitchen. Manager CJ sat in the middle of her darkened restaurant late Saturday morning, tears filling her eyes as she looked around and thought about the damage. She opened her restaurant on May 1, taking over the former Port Sushi location and transforming it into a family restaurant.
“I’m devastated,” she said. “It’s my kitchen that got totally damaged; it’s all flooded.” Water was pooling in the area behind the front counter, down the hallway and in the kitchen. Water was dripping from the light fixtures in the storage room behind the kitchen.
CJ had come to the restaurant early to prepare an order for the Alberni Charity Golf Classic, taking place today at the Alberni Golf Course, but she wasn’t able to fulfill the order due to the water damage. She gave them a gift certificate instead.
“I’m sad because my staff aren’t working,” CJ said. She has four employees who work with her at the restaurant. “That’s my main thing. There’s going to be thousands and thousands of dollars of damage, I know.”
Patterson said the fire department is still investigating how the fire started. Fire restoration crews were in the pub by lunchtime, assessing damage.
CJ said she isn’t sure how long her restaurant or the pub will be closed, but said she will be ready to reopen as soon as she can.
“We’re going to rock this thing. I just want it open.”