Patrons shopping at Waterloo’s Parkdale Plaza were rushed out from stores as a fire quickly overtook the Dollarama located within the complex on Sept. 11. The fire, which grew to be the largest fire the Waterloo Region has experienced in the last five years, took the efforts of 40 firefighters to stifle.</p>
Customers were evacuated into a parking lot a safe distance away as the building power began to shut down. The fire, which spread through the aisles of Dollarama, lasted at least three hours and resulted in two firefighters being taken to Grand River Hospital. While neighbouring stores were spared the brunt of the fire, the entirety of the plaza experienced extensive smoke damage.
In a major incidence post published by Waterloo Regional Police, it was announced that a 14-year-old had been “arrested for arson, endangering human life, and possession of an incendiary device.” A bail hearing was held Sept. 13 for the teen.
In an interview with CTV News, Tim Heffernan spoke about the plaza in which his business, Heffernan’s Jewellery, had stood for the last 31 years.
“This is definitely a bad thing for the plaza … It’s just a sad day when this happens. It’s going to take obviously a long time to clean up.”
The cost of damages sustained from this fire are expected to be in the millions. While working to stop the fire, a part of the Dollarama’s roof collapsed. In an article by CTV News, investigators mentioned that it may take some time before a full assessment of damages can be done. Removing remaining pieces of the roof will require specific equipment and is necessary before a full assessment can be made.
Acting Waterloo Fire Department platoon chief Earl Reitzel said in an interview with 570 News, “its is a multimillion-dollar loss, but to come down to a firm figure I don’t have that information at this time.”
While the fire was still blazing, a “shelter in place” order was put in effect for the residents living near the plaza. Neighbouring communities were advised against going outside and told to keep their windows closed.
The cause of the fire has yet to be fully identified, however, firefighters estimate that it began at the back of the store.