A Fort Langley sushi restaurant sustained approximately $150,000 damage in a fire which investigators believe was deliberately set.
Iron Chef Sushi Ichi, at 9145 Glover Road, has been temporarily closed following the blaze, which was reported to Township firefighters at 2:44 a.m. on Sunday.
Mark Forsythe and his wife, who live in an apartment opposite the restaurant, were awakened by the flames. Forsythe dialed 911 and recalled the “rush and roar” when a propane tank erupted.
Then a gas main broke and burst into flames.
“There was a giant blow torch up the back of the building,” said Forsythe who hosts the CBC radio program Almanac.
Fire department spokesman Bruce Ferguson said that the outside of a shed behind the restaurant was set on fire. The blaze destroyed the shed and spread to the back of the restaurant, inflicting enough damage to keep the restaurant closed for now.
“It is definitely repairable,” Ferguson said of the building, which is a wooden structure several decades old.
The restaurant lies several metres south of the Fort Langley Community Hall, which was not threatened by the blaze, and a breezeway prevented the blaze from igniting another wood-frame restaurant and store immediately south of the Iron Chef.
“It looked pretty intense when crews arrived,” Ferguson said.
When the call came in as a commercial fire, extra manpower was deployed, bringing firefighters from Walnut Grove, Willoughby and Murrayville to assist Fort Langley personnel.
“The crew did a fantastic job,” Ferguson said. “Another couple of minutes later and it could have been a different story.”