A massive fire swept through Wasaga Beach early Friday, destroying at least a dozen beach-side buildings in a commercial area of one of Ontario’s most popular tourist destinations.
Smoke still rises Friday morning from the remains of Wasaga Beach buildings devastated by a blaze that broke out around 1 a.m.(CBC)
The blaze broke out around 1 a.m. ET in the beachfront mall area and quickly consumed the buildings, which were all constructed in the 1930s and 1940s, Wasaga Beach Mayor Cal Patterson said.
“They were all wood, so they went up in smoke pretty quick,” Patterson told CBC News on Friday after spending most of the morning at the scene.
About 100 firefighters fought to prevent the fire from spreading to an adjacent group of buildings, but some suffered damage before the blaze was brought under control, Patterson said.
The winds were so strong, it quickly blew across to the other side,” he said.
No one was injured in the blaze, as the businesses were closed for the season, Ontario Provincial Police Const. Mark Kinney said. “Fortunately, there was nobody there at the time,” Kinney told CBC News.
There was no indication of what started the fire, but fire marshal investigators have already begun their investigation, he said. ‘It’s never going to be the same’
The sight of charred frames where vibrant seasonal businesses once stood left owners and community residents stunned.
“I’m in a state of shock because we lost everything,” business owner Huguette Chadwick told CBC News Friday after she reviewed the remnants of her destroyed swimwear store Tropical Trends.
Chadwick said she had come to see the other stores’ owners and staff as a “Wasaga family” during the 15 years she had been in business there.
“These people have been here for years and now it’s all gone,” she said. “It’s never going to be the same.”
The Georgian restaurant, a popular eatery and bar, was gutted, but firefighters managed to save the hotel of the same name, the town’s mayor said.
Patterson spoke with the owner of the hotel and restaurant, who is in his late 70s, and said he was crushed.
“He’s had that business for years,” Patterson said. “He’s a mess.”
For information on where to stay in Wasaga Beach please visit http://www.wasagarental.com