By John DeCoste
Fire Tuesday evening caused extensive damage to the Le Caveau restaurant at the Domain de Grand Pre winery in Grand Pre.
Wolfville firefighters responded to the alarm at 9:21 p.m. and eventually requested mutual aid from Greenwich, Port Williams and Hantsport.
According to Wolfville fire chief Kirk Fredericks, on their arrival, they found no visible fire, but there was a lot of smoke and other evidence of a fire in the floor near a large stove.
“We ended up having to chase it around a bit,” Fredericks said Wednesday morning. He confirmed the fire “was in the floor below the kitchen and above the restaurant.” Firefighters had to cut out a portion of the floor in front of the stove, and do a trench cut in order to gain access underneath. As well, “about 20 square feet” of the ceiling of the restaurant area had to be pulled down to access the fire.
“It was going pretty good in the void spaces between the floors when we got there,” he said, adding “at least a couple” of the main floor beams had suffered damage.
“There wasn’t a lot of actual fire damage, but there is smoke damage upstairs and water damage downstairs, along with the damage we had to do to get at the fire.”
He suggested, “they’re likely looking at a fairly major repair” which, in turn, is likely to result in the restaurant “being closed for a while.”
Luckily, Fredericks confirmed, the winemaking operation suffered no damage and wasn’t affected. In addition, no one was injured, even though Chef Jason Lynch and some of his staff were working at the time the fire broke out.
Lynch had sounded the alarm when smoke not related to cooking was detected.
While not 100 per cent sure of the cause of the fire Dec. 19, Fredericks said “our best guess is either a problem with the heat transfers in the stove, or grease from the stove that may have dripped through the floor over time.”
At any rate, “it wasn’t electrical, and it isn’t considered suspicious.” And according to the owner of the building, Hans Peter Stutz, the damage is covered by insurance.
Fredericks confirmed firefighters remained at the scene until about 1:30 a.m.
Fire, which broke out about 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, has damaged the popular Le Caveau Restaurant at the Domain de Pre Winery.
Chef Jason Lynch and staff were working when smoke, not related to cooking, was detected. The fire is believed to have started in the floor.
Hans Peter Stutz says the damage is covered by insurance. Check back at www.kingscountynews.ca for more details as they become available.