Police are investigating what they’re calling a “suspicious fire” just off of the Trans-Canada Highway at York Road.
The building affected was the Good Neighbours Thrift Store among other businesses in the 5000 block of York Street. First responders were called to the scene just before 1 am on Saturday to see the building already engulfed in flames.
While it’s generally a busy area, just off of the highway, police are asking people to avoid the area as they look into the situation.
“We are requesting the public avoid the area as the investigation is ongoing and surrounding roadways are cordoned off,” wrote North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP Staff Sergeant Ken Beard.
Police say they were able to evacuate occupants from neighbouring properties.
Related: Thrift Store Gutted by Fire
Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples took to social media, sharing a Facebook user’s video and adding her own comments.
“Thanks to the firefighters, RCMP, and emergency responders who came out in the night to deal with this fire at a well know business in North Cowichan,” she wrote. “Hope everyone is safe and feel for the loss for the owners, staff and community.”