A day-long fire may have ravaged a 100-year-old building in Bowmanville’s historic downtown core, but the community will rebuild the structure and Saturday’s Maplefest street festival, which annually draws about 20,000 people, will go on.
“Maplefest is a very important event. People come from the other side of Toronto and as far east as Kingston. It means a lot to the community,” said Clarington Mayor Jim Abernethy, while fire crews doused the last hot spots last night.
Four stores and eight apartments above the main two-storey structure were damaged by the blaze that broke out in Lang’s Photo about 8:30 a.m.
“This has been a very nasty fire. By 10:30, everybody thought it was under control, but the wind picked up and breached one of the walls and it spread next door,” the mayor added.
No one was hurt, but about 15 people living in the apartment lost everything and were left homeless.
With the help of Durham Region Social Services, the Red Cross, and the town itself, some of those people were provided with accommodation last night and they and others will be assisted in finding new places to live in the area in coming days.
“In the morning, we’ll assess what we have to do to get in there for the investigation,” said Clarington fire chief Gord Weir.
“Hopefully, we can get this quickly cleaned up and rebuilt and restore some type of façade that lends to that historic look, which we’re very proud of.”
Saturday’s Maplefest festival is held on the closed-off streets of the downtown and only a small section may be closed off in front of the gutted building.