Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

City blames building owners for Achillion blast

City of Prince George blaming owners of former Achillion restaurant for not securing building in gas explosion and fire caused by vagrants stealing copper.
On Aug. 22, 2023 an explosion and fire destroyed the former Achillion Greek Cuisine restaurant at Fourth Avenue and Dominion Street.

The owner of the downtown building levelled in a natural gas explosion last summer is being pulled into the legal conflict between the City of Prince George and a neighbouring nightspot seeking damages from the municipality in the aftermath.

The City has filed a "third party notice" against Commonwealth Campus Corp., as well as against three "John Does," putting the blame on them for the blast in which a City employee was severely injured.

In essence, the City maintains Commonwealth Campus failed to properly secure the building at 422 Dominion Street from break ins, damage and theft.

Commonwealth Campus also "caused or contributed" to the blast by permitting unlawful activity, the "accumulation of flammable materials or gasses," as well as permitting fires at or near the building, and maintaining the flow of natural gas in the building while it was not in use, the City alleges.

As for the John Does, the City says they caused the explosion by entering the building without authorization and "cutting, altering, removing, or otherwise damaging natural gas pipes," and igniting flammable materials or gases inside.

The notice was filed April 12 at the Prince George courthouse and in response to a notice of claim the owner of Heartbreakers nightclub seeking damages from the City, in part due to a loss of profits after the explosion forced closure of the business for at time.

The City has since denied responsibility.

On the morning of Aug. 22, 2023, the old Achillion restaurant was destroyed in a blast that was heard for kilometres around.

A city parks worker who smelled gas was seriously injured by the explosion as she was walking away from the east entrance to the building. Two other people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

At the time of the blast, the building had been listed for lease/sale for several years by Commonwealth. It hadn’t been used as a restaurant since the Achillion closed on Oct. 29, 2016 when owner Kostas Iliopulos retired after 32 years of operating the popular eatery.

Commonwealth bought the building in 2010 before construction of the adjacent UNBC’s Wood Innovation and Design Centre, when there was speculation the entire block would eventually be turned into a downtown university campus.

Earlier this month, and some eight months after the incident, the pile of wreckage left behind was finally cleaned up, costing Commonwealth more than $100,000.

The delay has been attributed to months of waiting for the insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, to complete the claims process and cover the cost.

Commonwealth Campus has not yet filed a response to the City's notice and the allegations remain to be tested in court.

with files from Ted Clarke