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(Updated 3 p.m., March 31)
Fire closes St. Joseph strip mall indefinitely

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

Smoke pours out of the side door to George & Sons Upholstery on St. Joseph Blvd. Photo courtesy of Stéphane Gratton

Seven businesses in a strip mall at the corner of St. Joseph Blvd. and Grey Nuns Drive have been forced to close indefinitely after fire broke out in one of the businesses just before noon on Saturday.

Firefighters responded to a 9-1-1 call at around 11:30 a.m. When they arrived, George & Son's Upholstery, A&T Nails and Spa, and the Precious One's consignment store were already filled with smoke.

The blaze, which started in the upholstery store and spread to the roof, was quickly brought under control, but not before it caused extensive damage to George & Sons, and A&T. Precious One's, Puffalot and Flower Mania also suffered extensive smoke damage, while S.G. Printing, which is located in the basement under George & Sons suffered extensive water damage.

"The firefighters said there's four or five inches of water on the floor," said SG owner Stéphane Gratton, who was in the print shop with his wife and business partner Angéle when the fire started.

"We walked in and I smelled a bit of smoke so I thought the exhaust fan on the furnace may have short-circuited because it had done it before, but there was nothing. Then Angéle started yelling from the top of the stairs, 'Bring the fire extinguishers. Bring the fire extinguishers. The fire is next door.'

"So when I got up stairs Melissa in Precious One's said the fire was in her storage unit. When I went to check it out, the smoke was pouring out of the ceiling, so I started shooting the fire extinguisher inside the ceiling. Finally I said the fire is in the roof, let's get out of here."

It wasn't until Gratton went back outside that he saw most of the smoke coming out of George & Sons.

"I saw someone from George & Sons and they said that it was a chemical fire and that it spread to the fabric," said Gratton who was told that the at least three of the businesses would have to be totally gutted and the roof replaced, a job that could take several months.

Gratton, who is fully insured, is planning to get back to business first thing Monday morning. "We will have to call of our clients and sub-contract the work out to other print shops. We're not going anywhere."

Firefighters stand outside George & Sons Upholstery and A&T Nails and Spa after the two businesses were gutted by a fine on Saturday. Fred Sherwin/Photo

Besides his clients, Gratton is also concerned about his four full-time employees who will be out of work until the shop can be reopened. "I have to check with my insurance company, but I'm pretty sure their wages are covered until they get employment insurance, or at least part of their wages."

As for the other businesses, the A&T Nails and Spa only recently came under new ownership and Precious One's is up for sale. Or at least it was. A For Sale sign was still hanging in the window behind the broken glass.

The jury is out on Puffalot, Flower Mania and the Turkish Village Restaurant which is located at the far end of strip mall away from George & Sons.

While the three businesses didn't suffer as much damage as the others, they are all connected to the hydro box which is located next to George & Sons.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   
   

 




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