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Communities combine to battle Sundridge blaze

'Our call came in as a collapsed roof and then a fully involved structure fire and that's what our guys found when they arrived'
20190315 sundridge fire muskoka auto parts tammy lyn
Thursday night fir at Muskoka Auto Parts in sundridge. Courtey Tammy Lyn/Facebook.

It was a joint effort to extinguish a major fire in Sundridge Thursday night that destroyed Muskoka Auto Parts and left a woman homeless.

Firefighters were still on the scene early this afternoon. Damage is estimated to be in the half million dollar range.

The call came in around 9:30 p.m. and the Sundridge-Strong volunteer department quickly responded, then invoked a mutual aid agreement which meant Burk's Falls, South River, and Magnetawan also provided support. About 15 members of the Sundridge department initially responded.

A woman living in an apartment above the business escaped.

"The occupant removed herself under her own power and a primary search was completed," Fire Chief Andrew Torrance told BayToday

Torrance says the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

"The main factor for us was, we had to take a defensive attack on this fire. Our call came in as a collapsed roof and then a fully involved structure fire and that's what our guys found when they arrived."

Torrance praised the efforts of the combined firefighting force.

"It was fantastic. They worked extremely hard in some fairly challenging conditions both weather and wind and were focused. All of the fire departments worked very well together and were super supportive."

Over 30,000 gallons of water was poured on the fire to get it out.

The Ontario Fire Marshall won't be investigating.

"They were notified. A heavy piece of equipment was used to assist in knocking down the fire, and so as of now, the Fire Marshall won't be attending because the fire has been turned over and an excavator was used to do that."

Torrance says his own department will investigate the best they can.

"At this point, it's undetermined simply because of the condition of the actual structure itself."

Mayor Lyle Hall told BayToday that he's spoken to the owners, and they will be rebuilding and reopening.

"They are game to rebuild which is exciting for the community. It's a tragedy but we're coming back bigger and better than ever."

The Ministry of the Environment is also involved as the site was a former auto dealership and the present business had an assortment of petroleum products.

"We're doing some containment down by the lakeshore," added Hall. "We're feeling pretty confident that everything is ok and our village superintendent is right on it. Some of whatever was in the building is going to be in that water (30,000 gallons) that travels toward the lake but the lake is still frozen. The Ministry of the Environment seemed to be satisfied and we want to make sure our citizens and the environment is protected."


Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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