A well known restaurant has burned down in the small community of Anahim Lake.
On Jan. 7 at approximately 3:10 pm, Anahim RCMP responded to a report of a structure fire at the Dutchman Restaurant.
RCMP attended the location and confirmed the building was closed and no one was inside.
As Anahim Lake does not have a fire department, police requested the assistance of the Ulkatcho Indian Band who own a pumper truck in the community.
The pumper truck attended within minutes of the initial call and both driver and police sprayed water on the blaze.
The fire was contained in the initial stages, and while the structure was still sound, local residents banded together along with police assistance and were able to save some of the owners’ more valuable property including some sentimental items.
Unfortunately the fire later spread into the roof and ceiling of the structure and could not be stopped.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. the structure became completely engulfed in flames and it quickly burned to the ground.
Police cordoned off the area and remained on scene for the safety of the public.
“Fortunately no one was injured as a result of the fire” stated Cst. Lesley Smith, North District Media Relations Officer “The investigation is still on going at this time but police do not believe the fire was suspicious and therefore arson is not a factor.”
The Dutchman was built by Hans and Sandra Lutters in the late 1980s then purchased by Bernie and Vicci Wiersbitzky in March 1995. In Februrary 2006, Bernie sold the restaurant to Dawn Benton, but financed the mortgage, so he is still involved.
Author Sage Birchwater of Williams Lake knows them both and said Bernie and Dawn are very distraught. They will be dealing with the insurance adjuster on Jan. 10.
“It’s quite a kick to lose your livelihood so abruptly,” Dawn said. “One minute you’ve got a job, the next minute you don’t.
– With RCMP files