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Sherwood Park fire devastates three local businesses

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WATCH ABOVE A destructive fire that tore through a building that housed three Sherwood Park businesses is now under investigation. As Shallima Maharaj reports, the loss is being felt throughout the community – Dec 18, 2016

A massive fire that engulfed a building in Sherwood Park on Saturday has devastated the owners of three local businesses.

BOS Motorsports, All Season Equipment and Red-E Rentals & Trailer Sales were all affected.

Strathcona County Emergency Services received a call about the blaze at around 3:45 pm. The businesses had closed for the day at 3 pm.

“They [firefighters] were able to access the building, they got a ways inside. There was heavy black smoke down to the ground, lots of heat. They were forced back. At that point, the fire breached the roof line so that’s when we made the decision to switch to a defensive fire because it just wasn’t safe to be inside,” said Devin Capcara, deputy chief of operations, Strathcona County Emergency Services.

The close proximity of the adjacent 7-Eleven gas station added another challenge to the fire fight.

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“There was lots of embers going north and then the radiant heat going off to the side. So we definitely had to cool the building and make sure it didn’t catch on fire,” he explained.

“The building burned from the inside-out. The walls and everything sort of fell on top of the fire, so everything’s buried.”

Crews stayed overnight to put out hot spots. On Sunday afternoon, Strathcona County Emergency Services used a drone with high-definition and thermal imaging capabilities to captural aerial shots of the site and to check for any lingering hot spots.

Heavy equipment was brought in to scatter the rubber and make conditions safe for investigators.

No other businesses were damaged and there were no reported injuries.

Daniel Currie is grateful for the quick response of fire crews. He is the manager of Cafe Haven, located right across the street.

His business was transformed into a makeshift safe haven for the business owners and their families the day of the fire.

“Last week we dealt with a break-in. We had a lot of stuff taken from us so a lot of people came to help, which was very nice of them. And it was our way of returning the favour. We didn’t want them standing out in the cold and crying – so we invited them in and made coffee, gave them some desserts,” he said.

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Currie recalled the initial moments when he realized something was wrong.

“I wasn’t sure where exactly the smoke was coming from and within minutes, the flames were coming out of the roof.”

Currie said his wife and another customer called the fire department.

He said the loss has already had an impact on the community. In fact, many of his customers have been coming in and asking what they can do to help the families affected.

“Talking to one of the owners and he told me that he had it for 25 years and then he passed it onto his sons. And they were standing there, looking at their life’s work being burned to the ground.”

Fire investigators said Wednesday the cause of the fire has been ruled “undetermined and not suspicious.”

It caused an estimated $7 million in damage.

No one was injured in the fire.

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