Early evidence suggests massive south side blaze was accidental: Fire investigator
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 9:31AM MST
Last Updated Friday, December 28, 2012 6:46PM MST
The arduous task of combing through the debris left behind after a massive blaze is underway on the south side.
The fire broke out at Lendrum Auto Service at 65 Avenue and 104 Street around 8:30 p.m.
It spread quickly to Glenmore Boats and officials said it became a two-alarm blaze.
Over a dozen fire trucks and 50 firefighters were on the scene trying to get the fire under control.
“When you are dealing with a cold climate you have to deal with freezing water and freezing firefighters your crew is the number one priority is keeping them safe,” Investigator Shayne Page said.
Witnesses say billowing smoke could be seen – it took firefighters about three hours to gain the upper hand on the blaze.
“Basically like a spiral of fire, flames shooting out, eventually about five minutes in the roof collapsed,” Witness Dan Cotfas told CTV News, adding he could hear some explosions.
The complex damaged in the fire has been in the Reppert family for 30 years – while insurance should cover the damages, the future of the businesses inside isn’t clear.
“They’ve been very good tenants of ours, so now they’re out of a place too, so I don’t know what’s going to happen now,” Shaw Reppert said. “Wait and see, and rebuild and go from there, go from there kind of deal.”
A third business was threatened by the blaze – 3C Information Solutions, but firefighters managed to save it.
“I was terrified to begin with,” Business owner Jay Candy said. “A lot of things go through your mind to begin with.
“When I pulled up though, a lot of things go through your mind at that moment. It would have been a very catastrophic event. I feel terrible for the owners of Lendrum [Auto Service].”
While no visible damage was done to the business, there was no power to the building – forcing the business to remain closed for several hours Friday.
“We have systems that are monitoring client networks, and we need those to be back operational as quickly as possible,” Candy said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation – investigators have their work cut out for them.
“Unfortunately lots of debris was moved during the night due to firefighting and track hole equipment operating,” Investigator Shayne Page said. “So we’ve lost some of that.
“We have to base our findings on what we’re seeing, and right now it appears to be an accidental fire.”
No injuries were reported and officials estimate the damages to be about $2 million.
With files from Breanna Karstens-Smith