College students and faculty have relocated after a large fire damaged their school in Market Square.
The Victoria Fire Department responded to multiple 911 calls just after 3 a.m. Tuesday morning after a fire started in Cafe Mexico’s kitchen.
The fire spread from the kitchen up through a ventilation duct, setting off a sprinkler on the second floor. Pacific Rim College, located on the second floor of Market Square, was damaged by fire, smoke and water.
The college relocated its offices to another location in Market Square and is expected to resume its full schedule on Thursday.
Damage to Cafe Mexico was extensive, said fire Cpt. Bob Jones.
“The restaurant’s pretty well gutted from the inside. It’s pretty well destroyed.”
Cafe Mexico is owned by Brad and Hilda Olberg, who could not be reached for comment. Employees at Broadmead Village’s Cafe Mexigo, Cafe Mexico’s takeout counterpart, said they were not permitted to speak about the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Kim Harrap, Market Square property manager.
Today, Megan Sabell, fire inspector, confirmed that an electrical cause has been ruled out. She is interviewing Cafe Mexico staff to determine the condition of the kitchen the night before the fire and to find out what cleaning products were in the vicinity.
“With the cleaning products, I’m exploring the possibility of spontaneous combustion,” said Sabell. “It’s just a matter of determining what products were in that area that might have contributed to the start of the fire or the spread of the fire.”