Three mainstays of Friday Harbor’s downtown commercial district burned Thursday in what officials say was a distressing blow to the San Juan Island town as it prepares to welcome tourists back after a difficult two years of pandemic restrictions.

“It’s absolutely devastating,” said Kimberley Kimple, a spokesperson with Orcas Island Fire & Rescue.

The fire, at the corner of First and Spring streets, engulfed Herb’s Tavern, Crystal Seas Kayaking and the Crows Nest Coffee Shoppe. It was reported at 3:43 a.m. by a passing tow truck driver, Kimple said.

By 2 p.m., two buildings had been demolished to prevent the spread of flames and the fire had been completely contained, though hot spots were still being monitored, Kimple said.

No one was in the buildings and no injuries were reported, she said.

Multiple fire agencies from neighboring islands, including Lopez and Orcas, responded.


In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Seattle office sent special agents, including a certified fire investigator, to assist in determining the origin and cause of the blaze.

The fire delayed at least one run of the ferry Tillikum after crews were asked to help, the ferry system said.

The 6:10 a.m. sailing from Friday Harbor to Shaw and Orcas islands was delayed 35 minutes after the San Juan County Fire Department asked for help from the crews.