'Shocked, sad and overwhelmed': Hunter Gatherer suffers significant damage in fire
REGINA -- Regina restaurant Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner is facing extensive damage after a fire on Wednesday evening.
Regina fire crews were called to the scene of the fire at 9:45 p.m., after a 9 1 1 caller reported smoke and flames coming from the back of the building in the 1200 block of 15 Ave.
“The smoke and water damage is considerable,” Neil Sundeen, Deputy Chief for Regina Fire and Protective Services, said. “They were able to contain [the fire damage] to the back part of the building. But there will be a lot of cleaning and rebuilding that will have to be done.”
No one was injured in the fire and officials said it was not deliberately set.
The extensive damage is another blow to a local business that has had a difficult year. This past winter, the vegetarian diner was the target of multiple break-ins. The dining room just reopened for sit-in customers in early July.
Neil McDonald, the owner of Hunter Gatherer, wasn’t available for comment, however, the diner shared that it will not be able to reopen for a while, in a post on its Facebook page.
“I am shocked, sad, and overwhelmed but happy that nobody was injured. It’s safe to say that we won’t be reopening any time soon,” the post read.
In a second post, the diner said they were told by fire inspectors that the blaze was caused by an electrical issue.
“The duct work from the make up air unit out back ran through the ceiling of the larger washroom. A couple of shielded wires above the ducts fell down on top of them, and over time the insulation wore off them until they arced across the ducts and lit things up,” the post read.
The building is also home to second floor residential suites and other local businesses like Hemp Haven and J Fullerton Hair.
Julia Fullerton, owner of J Fullerton Hair, said her space suffered smoke damage. She is not sure when she will be able to open again.
“I’m moving clients, talking to my insurance company and just getting down here to start cleaning and trying to get back into my space as soon as possible,” said Fullerton, who just reopened last month after closing due to COVID-19.
“I was already running pretty on the lean, as I’m sure a lot of small businesses were, regardless of their designation, and there just isn’t any padding left in the bank account for another hit like this right now.”
Box Concession, a food truck based across the street from Hunter Gatherer, is looking to do what they can to help. Owners Thabo and Tiro Mthembu said they will be donating tips from Thursday’s Box sales to Fullerton.
“Just returning that favour. Whenever we see that somebody can use some help, we’ll do what we can and we’ve always felt supported that way from other people in this area as well so I think that’s sort of what the whole idea is,” said Thabo Mthembu.