On Saturday, May 14th, a fire broke out at Larry’s Chip Stand. Nobody was hurt, and no nearby buildings were affected, but the popular chip stand suffered severe damage. The fire department received the call at 9 p.m., fire chief Richard Maranda said, and the team was able to “hit it pretty quick.”
There was a lot of smoke billowing from the Main Street building, and 18 firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames within. About half an hour later, the fire was out, but the crew remained to make sure all the hotspots were cold before they left.
The structure is still intact, the Chief explained, but unfortunately, “there was extensive damage within the building.”
The firefighters did a “tremendous job,” the Chief noted. “The fire was very intense when we got there.” The cause of the fire is currently being investigated by the Fire Marshall Office which will “pinpoint a source.”
It did not take long for word to travel about the fire, and many people expressed their concerns for the owners via social media. Mayor Joanne Savage was not surprised by the community support, as Larry’s was a summertime institution. For many, summer isn’t summer without fries and a pogo.
After hearing the news “I took a drive to see” the aftermath of the fire, Mayor Savage explained. “It’s definitely a loss for the community,” she said, noting “it was probably one of the first chip stands” in Sturgeon Falls.
The town takes its fries seriously. Across the street from Larry’s is the Riv Chip Stand, which has been serving the community since 1974. Larry’s has been around since about 1964, and Monique’s Chip Stand—across the highway on Nipissing Street—is still frying away as well. This strong heritage of fries makes the mayor suspect that “Sturgeon Falls is the capital of french fries.”
Mayor Savage emphasized that these stands also hold a special place for those outside the community, noting how many tourists and seasonal residents make it “part of their summer plan” to stop in for a bite. “It’s very sad” this happened, “especially since it’s prime season” for the business, and she hopes the owner will be able to re-open soon.
David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.