VANCOUVER 'POT BLOCK' GOES UP IN SMOKE VANCOUVER -- Vancouver's world-renowned "pot block" was engulfed in smoke yesterday as fire destroyed a significant piece of the city's heritage. The blaze raged through a two-storey building, gutting the Blunt Brothers, a marijuana-oriented cafe that billed itself as "a respectable joint." A landmark vintage clothing store was also destroyed, as was a long-standing left-wing bookstore. The B.C. Marijuana Party headquarters and bookstore are located next door at 307 West Hastings, a building that suffered major smoke and water damage. Other pot-oriented businesses were located on the upper floors of the building. Capt. Rob Jones-Cook of the Vancouver fire department said initial reports were that the fire started in a dumpster in the back lane behind the buildings. It quickly spread to two more dumpsters and then to the rear of the building. "I will not say it's arson, but it could be a suspicious fire,' said Jones-Cook. Firefighters found a small marijuana-growing operation in one of the structures. The block has achieved international renown in the past few years because of all the marijuana-oriented businesses there. Pot tourists visit by the thousands to smoke a joint in North America's only pot cafes, the Blunt Brothers and the New Amsterdam (which recently closed). Even comedian Tommy Chong came to Blunt Brothers to smoke a joint. The fire attracted dozens of spectators early yesterday morning. A group of potheads mourned the loss of Blunt Brothers by lighting up joints on a nearby corner. "You'd see people from all over the world that would make their way there to check it out and get their pictures taken in front of the signs and stuff," said Steve Lippold, owner of clothing store Cabbages and Kinx. "It was on certain people's lists of tourist places to visit." The future of the pot block depends on the damage to the building. Pot guru Marc Emery hopes the damage to the Marijuana Party headquarters and bookstore isn't too severe and that it can reopen quickly. Emery didn't hold out much hope for the upstairs businesses, however. Emery said the store wasn't insured. "No one insures businesses with the name Marijuana in it, in my experience," he said. Jones-Cook said there were no reports of injuries at the scene. The businesses were located in a pair of 1890s brick buildings that are on Vancouver's heritage register. The burnt-out structure was built in 1898, the time of the Klondike goldrush.