Glace Bay reeling after weekend fire destroys downtown businesses
GLACE BAY -- There is still no word on what caused a major fire in Glace Bay on the weekend.
The building that burned housed four businesses, leaving another vacant lot in an already struggling downtown area.
The building that once stood on a corner in downtown Glace Bay for nearly 100 years is now just a memory.
Flames and smoke could be seen for miles Saturday night as more than 50 firefighters from five different departments worked to get the blaze under control.
Two days later, all that remains is a pile of rubble and another loss to Glace Bay's downtown core.
"We don't have that many businesses here now," said resident Corrine White. "Every job you lose is a tragedy. People have to go away to work."
Four businesses, including a hair salon, cash store, and taekwondo studio were lost.
It's another big loss on a main drag that has already seen better days.
Glace Bay Fire Chief John Chant says there is still no word on the cause of the fire, but it appears to have started at the back of the building.
"Our initial report was that there was somebody still inside the building," Chant said. "Supposedly, they were the ones that made the call reporting the smoke."
In a six-minute span, Chant says the smoke turned into a full-fledged fire, threatening nearby businesses, but that wasn't the only hurdle firefighters had to overcome.
"One of the issues we had on Catherine Street was there was so many vehicles came to watch the fire," Chant said. "I actually couldn't get the fire truck down Catherine Street initially."
Chant says firefighters were able to save surrounding structures, while the Reserve Mines Fire Department was dealing with a situation of its own.
"While relaying water up to the fire scene, the cab heater on our lead engine caught fire," said Reserve Mines Fire Chief Jeff Aucoin. "It's a significant loss because it takes fire protection away from our community."
For now, Glace Bay Fire is returning the favour and lending a truck to Reserve Mines.