Damage Estimated at $3.1 Million After Bowmanville Fire

Damage has been tallied at over $3.1 million after the inferno that destroyed two Bowmanville businesses, damaged several others and burned out apartments on King Street Tuesday.

Cause has not yet been determined and may not be for a while, but Chief Gord Weir said at this point there appears to be "nothing suspicious" about the blaze.

By noon Friday, the Chief said King Street, which has been closed since Tuesday from Silver to Temperance streets, was just hours away from reopening.

A representative of the Ontario Fire Marshal's office was able to get into the gutted shell of Lange's Photo Lab, where the fire is believed to have begun, to start the work of attempting to determine what caused the fire. Samples were taken but it's not known when a cause will be determined.

Saturday's Maple Festival is still expected to go on, said Chief Weir. The sidewalk, torn up as a result of the blaze, has been repaired, and barricades are being erected to block off the fire-impacted area. Demolition of the two most impacted buildings -- Second Chance and Lange's Photo -- has been completed.

The Maple Festival time-line didn't in any way hamper the investigation, said Chief Weir, noting more time would have been taken if necessary.

"We met with the mayor, some councillors and some members of the BIA," Chief Weir said. "They wanted to know if the street was going to remain closed. The intention all along was that the Maple Festival would go ahead; it was just whether they'd move it down the street" to avoid the fire scene.

Some residents were concerned about the loss of historical buildings.

"I think some of the historical people were concerned about the facade being maintained, but two different engineers looked at it," Chief Weir said. "It just wasn't structurally safe."

Some of the historical features, including some keystone bricks, were saved and are being stored, possibly for future use during rebuilding, said Chief Weir.

The two neighbouring buildings, housing Leisure Lady and Cafe Vienna, also sustained significant damage, and are under orders to repair, Chief Weir said.


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