Investigators have concluded that a fire at the Alder Inn two weeks ago was the result of an electrical mishap in an upstairs room.
Langley Township assistant fire chief Pat Walker found a DVD player and space heater plugged into the same outlet, either of which could have been in poor condition.
“Or it could have been an overloaded outlet,” Waker theorized as another possibility.
He told the Aldergrove Star on Tuesday that the blaze has resulted in “significant damage” inside both the building’s restaurant and upstairs living quarters, which both remain cordoned off.
Smoke that spread throughout adjacent corridors has likely changed the atmospheric conditions of the building, Walker confirmed.
The building’s atmosphere has to be tested along with its electrical systems “before and if any tenants are to return,” Walker explained.
“It’s likely gonna be awhile,” he said.
Just after 12 p.m. on Sept. 20, Township fire crews were alerted to a blaze that broke out inside the building.
Firefighters arrived on the scene, at the corner of 272nd Street and Fraser Highway, and quickly extinguished a blaze confined to an upstairs room.
The fire was contained to contents, platoon captain Doug Simpson said on site.
“[The fire] didn’t get into the structure…which is good because it’s a very old building and there’s no fire protection system” like sprinklers, he elaborated.
No injuries were reported.
The Alder Inn – a nearly six-decade-old hotel, liquor store and bar that opened up dowtown in 1948 – has been uninhabitable since the blaze. Only its ground-level beer and wine store was open as of Monday.
The Township, which also owns the building, put up displaced tenants in nearby hotels until Monday and is looking into additional solutions to house them moving forward, Walker added.
As for the popular family-owned Schnitzels restaurant, two of its workers, sisters, watched the fire unfold from the back parking lot.
“Today is not a good day,” one of the workers told the Aldergrove Star.
“We might lose our business today,” the other worried.
The restaurant has remained closed, to the dismay of its regular customers.
Fraser Health Authority is in the process of conducting air quality tests and other inspections to ensure any food prepared would not be cross-contaminated as an effect of the fire.