April 13, 2013
Fire Takes Restaurant But Not Hotel Spirit
This past Thursday night, April 11th, a suspicious fire did irreparable damage to the ABC country restaurant located at the Accent Inn Victoria, 3233 Maple St. Fire is certainly something feared by everyone but even more so when it comes to a large complex like an apartment or hotel. When the call came into the Accent Inn front desk, the staff immediately followed the procedures they had been taught. Calls went out to their management and staff and evacuation procedures quickly began with police and fireman joining to assist. The restaurant being closed, luckily was empty with no staff present there.
People and pets had the opportunity to stay warm in waiting BC Transit Busses. After rooms had been cleared and head-counts taken the hotel staff proceeded to secure rooms at other local hotels for all guests, some of whom were still in their pajamas.
The Saanich fire department did an excellent job containing the fire to the restaurant alone and thanks to concrete firewalls the hotel was left relatively undamaged. In the light of day on the Friday, police and fire investigators began doing their work in regards to the criminal investigation surrounding the possible setting of the fire. Working with the hotel staff, Police and Fire officials had hotel guests collecting any belongings or vehicles left behind by early afternoon. By late afternoon the Accent Inn began welcoming back those guests who had been evacuated and who wished to continue their stay.
“I’ve been receiving many calls and we’ve had guests coming back all thanking our staff for their quick and caring actions, some even bringing gifts. I also want to thank my other hotel colleagues for assisting our guests on such short notice. “ Chris Knight, General Manager.
As of Saturday April 13th the shell of the ABC restaurant is being torn down as the fire department searches for hotspots and takes care of any safety concerns. Over at the hotel it is a completely different story. The Accent Inn staff are busy preparing for business as usual, cleaning rooms, working with guests and even taking reservations. They are open for business!
A statement from Mandy Farmer, President and CEO, Accent Inns:
To our guests – I want to thank (and profusely apologize for the extraordinary inconvenience) my guests who were so understanding throughout the whole ordeal last night, and of course both the police and fire departments who did an amazing job. I’m left with a feeling of total appreciation for you, my team and the emergency responders. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that not one person was injured and that it wasn’t worse.
A personal note:
It’s amazing how an ordeal can galvanize you.
Being woken up at midnight to find out your hotel is on fire is a living nightmare, but to actually arrive on scene groggy eyed and wearing pajamas to see a hole where your restaurant was, is literally a sucker punch to the stomach. I did shed tears at that moment. Images flashed through my head: I remember my dad building this restaurant when I was just a pre-teen, having a staff meal there when I worked the front desk, breakfast with friends over the years, and soon strategizing business plans over coffee, even taking my elderly nana there for lunch, but most importantly, I met my husband there in one of those bright cheerful booths.
That initial blow soon passed when I saw my lobby full of evacuated guests and my team admirably scrambling to take care of them. My heart ached for all of our guests pulled from their beds to wait in the cold with unrequited hopes of making it back to their rooms that night. But you know, in all of Accent Inns history (27 years), I don’t think there has ever been a moment that I have been so proud of my team. Many got up in the night to come down and help, some even working through the whole night to make sure our guests were looked after. My frontline staff stayed late, with nary of thought of when their shift ended or started. And all of them took such great care of our stranded guests. In particular, I want to recognize Linda, Malcolm, Alvaro, Joan and Dave who truly went above and beyond.
And then the outpouring of love, the emails, the phone calls, the tweets, the posts from the community of Victoria; wow, we most certainly live in a vibrant and supportive community. And so today, now that the smoke has cleared, all of us at Accent Inns feel surprisingly grateful for many reasons:
- The most important thing was that no one was even slightly injured
- Damage was very minimal to the hotel part (unfortunately, the restaurant is literally toast)
- Our guests were so supportive, positive and calm. They were amazing!
- And as I’ve already mentioned, I have the most remarkable team in the world working for me.
Thank you, my team, thank you.
President & CEO
About Accent Inns
Not your typical, stuffy hotel chain. Yes, we have modern, clean rooms, but we’ll also tell you where to go (in a good way ;). We’ll give you the down low on where the locals hang – the hot spots for shopping, dining and hitting the town. Oh yeah, did we mention that we’re also a pint-sized, boastfully BC hotel chain with five locations; Victoria, Burnaby, Vancouver Airport (Richmond), Kelowna & Kamloops.
Stay local. Stay real.
For more information contact:
Business Development Manager (Public Relations)