VICTORIA -- Firefighters from View Royal, Esquimalt, Colwood and Langford responded to the Four Mile House Restaurant late Tuesday afternoon.

Smoke could be seen rising from the roof vents of the popular West Shore pub as firefighters responded with ladder trucks.

View Royal firefighters say the fire started in the kitchen and spread into the walls, causing difficulty for emergency crews at the scene.

"Crews, during their investigation, experienced rapidly deteriorating conditions on the second floor," said View Royal Fire Chief, Paul Hurst.

"It looks like this fire started in the kitchen and with the wind it created an effect where it sucked the fire into the walls and in the floor-space under the second floor," Hurst said.

Since the fire was spreading through the wall and floors, the building's sprinkler system did not activate, says Hurst. However, once firefighters realized where the smoke was coming from, they quickly knocked down some areas of the wall, ceiling and second storey floor.

"The fire was difficult to find," said Hurst. "We couldn’t originally find the location because it got into the floors, we couldn’t find the seed. Once the floors and walls were open we managed to find it quickly and get water on it but our concern, obviously, was that the fire was going to take off on us if we didn’t get on it quickly."

While firefighters battled the flames, staff and customers of the popular pub were evacuated, closing down traffic in both directions along Craigflower Road around 3 p.m. 

By 3:30 p.m., the fire had been contained and no injuries had been reported. Hurst says that ambulance services were treating three firefighters who were inside fighting the fire, however.

Staff told CTV News they could smell smoke in the building before calling the fire department.

"It's our home," said one staff member who was visibly distraught.

However, the fire could have been more damaging, says Hurst.

"It looks like this fire had been burning a while before it was detected by staff," said the Fire Chief. "If this fire had occurred after hours when nobody was in the building, and [was] undetected, it probably would have taken the building out."

The fire department estimates that damage to the building costs more than $100,000. The popular establishment is unlikely to reopen for at least several weeks. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.