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Overnight fire hits downtown Prince George building

Salon/day spa owner left looking for alternate location for her business

A suspicious fire late Friday night caused extensive damage to a two-storey downtown beauty salon and left the owner wondering where she will have to move to attend to her clients.

Prince George Fire Rescue was called to the scene at 1180 Third Ave., at 10:54 p.m. Friday and four halls initially responded. There was thick smoke and flame coming from the roof of Special Beauty Parlor and Day Spa when firefighters arrived.

“I got a call that my burglar alarm was going off,” said salon owner Jacqueline Marion.

Damage is estimated at $320,000 and most of that was to the salon. The blaze appears to have originated in a second-floor suite on the roof of the salon.

“There’s a 900-square-foot suite upstairs and it wasn’t being used,” said Marion.

“I’ve had the business for 23 years downtown and the building, I purchased it in 2017,” she said. “I love the downtown and decided to buy the building. It’s the prettiest place. You can do a walk-through virtual tour and you can see the love that’s been put into that building.

“I’ve been in my industry since 1983 - a long time.”

The fire was contained to the building where it started and was quickly extinguished. There was some heat and smoke damage to the neighbouring buildings, one of which is vacant and one which houses New Life Centre. Nobody was injured in the blaze.

The top-down fire left a thick layer of black soot throughout the salon. The structure was built in 1920 and is the former site of the Savoie Hotel, later becoming the Embassy Café and Oriental Inn.

An RCMP investigator at the scene confirmed the fire is believed to have originated from the outside, rather than in the building, and said reports of vagrancy on the rooftops of downtown buildings are a common occurrence.  

“This is where I’ve grown up, I love my city,’ said Marion. “I love Prince George. I don’t like the way it’s been the last couple years but it’s a good city.

“I don’t know the extent (of the damage), but if it’s fixable I’ll definitely fix it. I’m just trying to find someplace I can relocate temporarily so I don’t lose business.”