The fire at Wonder Harbour Comics in downtown Edmonton has been ruled arson, fire officials reported Monday afternoon.
Edmonton police along with Edmonton Fire Rescue Services launched an investigation after the fire broke out at Sunday morning. EFRS was called to 105 Avenue and 105 Street at around 2 a.m. for reports of a structure fire.
Firefighters arrived moments later and witnessed heavy smoke coming from the building. Crews brought the fire under control about 40 minutes later, but it took almost three more hours to put it out completely.
In Monday’s update, EFRS said $450,000 in damage was sustained: $300,000 to the building and $150,000 worth of contents.
A tweet by Wonder Harbour Comics stated the store is “not recoverable” and staff members are working to get customers’ book orders to them as soon as they can.
Store owner Vince Joyall said he watched the arson on a live video feed from a security camera.
After seeing the outpouring of community support, Joyall decided to launch a GoFundMe to bring the store back.
“We’ve had donations from Paris, Iceland, England, the United States and of course Edmonton, and from local comic book stores,” he said.
“We have always focused on creating an inclusive space where people can be themselves, express themselves. We don’t do any gatekeeping.”
According to EFRS, this is the second fire at the building this month, with the first one taking place on March 20. No injuries were reported at either fire, though EFRS believes the first fire was also deliberately set.
– With files from Kirby Bourne, 630 CHED