September 3, 2013 5:38 pm

Fire that gutted St. Jacobs Market started in southeast corner: fire officials


WATCH: St. Jacobs market looking to rebuild after devastating fire. Laura Zilke reports. 

ST. JACOBS, Ont. – Fire officials say they’ve pinpointed the general area where the blaze that levelled part of a renowned farmers market near Waterloo, Ont., began.

Lonnie Schubert of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office says the flames broke out in the southeast corner of the main building at the St. Jacobs Market, where a French fries vendor and cafe were located.

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He says investigators have yet to identify what caused the fire but are looking at several “potential ignition sources” in that area, and so far, there’s no suggestion of foul play.

Monday’s fire has left the community mourning a beloved attraction, one that officials say drew thousands of visitors each week to the small town of roughly 2,000.

The 2,200-square-metre building housed some 60 vendors, with several hundred more setting up shop in other buildings or outside.

The market runs all year long, and organizers say the outdoor portion will reopen Thursday.

Jenny Schantz of Mercedes Corp., which owns and operates the market, said the company is working to find new locations for any vendors displaced by the blaze.

“This is the busy season, harvest time,” she said.

The market is “a major attraction for this region,” a favourite among residents as well as travellers, she said.

Schatz said the company has been flooded with calls from people wanting to help, and she’s been telling them to come shop at the market when it reopens this week.

It’s still unclear how long it will take before the main building can be rebuilt, she said.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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