Emergency crews say they were called to the Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner at about 9:45 p.m. after a passerby noticed smoke coming from the business.
“Our crews arrived in just under four minutes and they did determine there was smoke and flames showing from the back end of the building,” said Neil Sundeen, Regina’s deputy fire chief.
“They took the opportunity to do a quick offensive interior attack so they did a search, knocked the fire down and were able to contain it to the back part of the building.”
He said the fire itself didn’t spread to the front, but it did cause smoke and water damage to the entire restaurant.
“The rest of the occupants in the strip mall would have received smaller smoke damage, but nothing beyond that,” Sundeen said.
Julia Fullerton owns and operates Julia Fullerton Hair in the same strip mall of the fire.
“I got a call from my friends who live just around the corner saying the building my business is in was on fire and that there were a lot of firetrucks here,” Fullerton said.
“It was pretty terrifying, honestly.”
She said her business will be closed for a short period of time, but hopes to have it reopen shortly after the long weekend.
“I’m going to get in there and clean the smoke damage. There was no fire in the building so that’s good news,” Fullerton said.
“As a small business post-COVID, any loss of income is pretty devastating.”
No injuries were reported and no one was in the building at the time.
The diner took to Facebook to share the news, saying Hunter Gatherer won’t be reopening any time soon.
“I am shocked, sad, and overwhelmed but happy that nobody was injured,” the Facebook post read.
“My thanks to the firefighters who worked for hours to snuff out the flames, and my thoughts are with the other tenants of the building who have been displaced by this.”
Sundeen said he is unsure of the cost of the damage, but expects a lot of it to be written off. He said those details will be determined by the owner and the insurance company.
The fire has been deemed an accident by investigators, Sundeen said.
According to a post on the restaurant’s Instagram page, the fire was caused by worn-out wiring.
“The duct work from the make up air unit out back ran through the ceiling of the larger washroom,” reads the post. “A couple of shielded wires above the ducts fell down on top of them, and over time the insulation wore off them until they arced across the ducts, and lit things up.”
Fire crews had control of the fire within three hours of arriving. Hunter Gatherer has been subject to multiple break-ins since opening about four years ago.
“Please help to dispel any of the suggestions that this was another intentional act against the diner. I don’t have the time, or energy to respond to the folks who think this fire was targeted,” says the restaurant’s Instagram post. “The only one actively plotting against me is the universe.”
The owner of Hunter Gatherer declined comment with Global News.