Investigators are still combing through the rubble after a fire destroyed two Springdale businesses last week.
A business complex, which included Home Hardware and a BMO Bank of Montreal branch, was destroyed by the blaze last Wednesday night. Foul play is not suspected, although police say the investigation is continuing.
According to a news release from the RCMP, the Springdale and King’s Point fire departments attempted to put out the fire and protect surrounding homes.
Springdale fire Chief Rennie Normore told the media that it was difficult to control the blaze because the hardware store contained aerosol cylinders, different types of sealants and large amounts of paint. Some of the surrounding homes reportedly had broken windows and melted siding as a result of the fire.
According to reports from the scene, the fire began on the roof of the Home Hardware store, and spread throughout the building, engulfing it in flames.
The fire eventually spread to the warehouse and the connected Bank of Montreal.
Firefighters battle fire overnight
Crews battled the blaze throughout the night and into Thursday morning. Volunteer firefighters were on the scene well into the day on Thursday and the days following dealing with hot spots.
Both the Home Hardware and Bank of Montreal were incinerated and some nearby homes had damage to their exteriors due to the extreme heat of the fire.
Residents living nearby were evacuated as a safety precaution, but officials say there were no injuries as a result of the fire.
Witnesses on the scene reported the blaze may have been started by a transformer on a pole directly behind the former Home Hardware building.
Dwayne Hayward said he was on the scene watching fire crews fight the fire for four hours during the night on Wednesday and said while the damage is severe, it could have been a lot worse.
“Thankfully it wasn’t windy,” he said. “If wind had carried the flames then we would have been looking at an even bigger loss than we are now.”
Hayward estimated flames shot up in the air about 150 feet.
Other stores in the area remained closed as a precaution Thursday because of possible danger from the heat of the rubble and traffic was being rerouted from the scene.
The Great Canadian Dollar Store reopened on Sunday after extensive testing and precautions relating to the air quality in their building.
While Chris Morgan, owner of Home Hardware has said it’s too early to say when rebuilding will take place, Brian Warr, president of the Chamber of Commerce, of which Morgan is a member, says they wish him the best when he does.
As for BMO Bank of Montreal, they’ve taken measures in the days following the tragedy to see to it their customers were still serviced at some level.
A spokesperson for the Bank says they started by offering to reimburse any service fees incurred by their customers using the Scotiabank for their banking needs, pending customers keep their receipts.
On Tuesday, BMO deployed a RV in the parking area across the street from its former branch, where the local BMO branch manager and staff are on hand to answer questions and help customers complete non-cash transactions.
As of January 24, a fully functional and staffed banking trailer will be deployed at the former branch location from which customers will have access to a full range of banking services and transactions. A BMO full-service ATM will be available within this adapted trailer facility that will ensure banking services until a new full-service branch can be rebuilt in Springdale.
A BMO ATM is also on the way for Lawton’s Drugs which is next door to the former branch, for customers to use in the meantime.
Brian Warr says that word from BMO that they intend to rebuild in Springdale is great news for the community.
“That speaks volumes for us, as we’re a service community and we need the support of both banks.”
Despite the tragedy, Warr says he’s confident that Springdale will return what its lost.
“That fire has been the talk of the town since last Wednesday,” he said. “But we’ll come back from this.”