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Stephenville fire devastating for business owners and operators

Firefighter Craig Harnum uses a long-handled pick to break out a window in Happy Warriors Yoga to give other firefighters an opportunity to spray water on the fire inside the 104 Main St. building fire in Stephenville on Friday.
Firefighter Craig Harnum uses a long-handled pick to break out a window in Happy Warriors Yoga to give other firefighters an opportunity to spray water on the fire inside the 104 Main St. building fire in Stephenville on Friday.

An early morning fire that destroyed the building at 104 Main St. in Stephenville has left many people devastated.

None more than Donna Hobbs of the Southwest Coast SPCA, which rented space in the building as a temproary shelter to house 24 cats and kittens. All of 24 perished in blaze.

“Twenty four little lives gone,” Hobbs said as she peered into the burning building from her car on the opposite side of the street. Pictures of the cats were still visible in the window after the fire was extinguished.

A prepared release by Bridgette Reid, public relations director for the SPCA, said they could take some consolation in the fact the fire did not reach the shelter rooms and that the animals died as a result of carbon monoxide.

She said their group has worked extremely hard the past few years and it is heartbreaking to think these cats were half way to being adopted before this tragedy occurred.

Reid said for those who want to assist the group through financial support or material donations, they can do so by visiting the South West Coast SPCA Facebook page.

Debbie Wilton, owner-operator of Debbie’s Video Shoppe, also sat in a car watching the fire and was clearly distraught.

Friends were stopping by and sitting with her while her eyes watched the fire destroy the business where she had worked for nearly three decades. Wilton ran the business for six years prior to taking it over herself, and has been owner-operator for 21 years.

Nigel Pike, speaking on behalf of his wife Quinn Pike, who just completed renovations on her business, Happy Warrior Yoga, said they had a fair loss from the fire and didn’t carry insurance. He said his wife was devastated because she did a lot of training to prepare for this and it was a good spot.

Claude Caines, owner of the 104 Main St. building, said the fire resulted in a big loss and that he did carry insurance.

The owner of another business, which sold used CDs and games, could not be reached for comment.

Stephenville Fire Chief Wayne Reilly said it was a “brutal” fire to fight because it was well underway when firefighters arrived, with flames already coming through the roof just after 5:30 a.m. Reilly said they were successful in saving two nearby buildings, including Beavercraft — only 10-feet away — and Redwood Lounge.

Reilly said his department, which had seven career and 16 auxiliary firefighters on the scene, was assisted by Kippens Fire Department and firefighters from the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre. An aerial truck from the training centre was instrumental in helping finally get the stubborn fire under control and eventually out. He said having the firefighters from Kippens and the training centre was a big help for crew rotation.

One of the auxiliary firefighters slipped on the ice and hit her head, so she was taken to hospital for examination, cleared by the doctor and back at the fire scene shortly after.

Police investigators were expected on the scene Friday afternoon or today.

Twitter: WS_FrankGale

 

 

None more than Donna Hobbs of the Southwest Coast SPCA, which rented space in the building as a temproary shelter to house 24 cats and kittens. All of 24 perished in blaze.

“Twenty four little lives gone,” Hobbs said as she peered into the burning building from her car on the opposite side of the street. Pictures of the cats were still visible in the window after the fire was extinguished.

A prepared release by Bridgette Reid, public relations director for the SPCA, said they could take some consolation in the fact the fire did not reach the shelter rooms and that the animals died as a result of carbon monoxide.

She said their group has worked extremely hard the past few years and it is heartbreaking to think these cats were half way to being adopted before this tragedy occurred.

Reid said for those who want to assist the group through financial support or material donations, they can do so by visiting the South West Coast SPCA Facebook page.

Debbie Wilton, owner-operator of Debbie’s Video Shoppe, also sat in a car watching the fire and was clearly distraught.

Friends were stopping by and sitting with her while her eyes watched the fire destroy the business where she had worked for nearly three decades. Wilton ran the business for six years prior to taking it over herself, and has been owner-operator for 21 years.

Nigel Pike, speaking on behalf of his wife Quinn Pike, who just completed renovations on her business, Happy Warrior Yoga, said they had a fair loss from the fire and didn’t carry insurance. He said his wife was devastated because she did a lot of training to prepare for this and it was a good spot.

Claude Caines, owner of the 104 Main St. building, said the fire resulted in a big loss and that he did carry insurance.

The owner of another business, which sold used CDs and games, could not be reached for comment.

Stephenville Fire Chief Wayne Reilly said it was a “brutal” fire to fight because it was well underway when firefighters arrived, with flames already coming through the roof just after 5:30 a.m. Reilly said they were successful in saving two nearby buildings, including Beavercraft — only 10-feet away — and Redwood Lounge.

Reilly said his department, which had seven career and 16 auxiliary firefighters on the scene, was assisted by Kippens Fire Department and firefighters from the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre. An aerial truck from the training centre was instrumental in helping finally get the stubborn fire under control and eventually out. He said having the firefighters from Kippens and the training centre was a big help for crew rotation.

One of the auxiliary firefighters slipped on the ice and hit her head, so she was taken to hospital for examination, cleared by the doctor and back at the fire scene shortly after.

Police investigators were expected on the scene Friday afternoon or today.

Twitter: WS_FrankGale

 

 

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