Shoppers feel the heat

<p>John Ferguson will be spending much of his Christmas holidays cleaning up after a fire destroyed the basement of his Hintonburg-area store yesterday.</p>

 

Fire starts at Giant Tiger with 70-plus in store


 

 

Tim Wieclawskit/metro ottawa

 

Firefighters work in the aftermath of a fire yesterday at the Giant Tiger store at 1085 Wellington St. The firefighters managed to restrict most of the damage to a basement electrical room, where the fire is believed to have started.





John Ferguson will be spending much of his Christmas holidays cleaning up after a fire destroyed the basement of his Hintonburg-area store yesterday.





The fire is believed to have started in the basement electrical room of the Giant Tiger store at 1085 Wellington St. shortly after 1 p.m. yesterday, though District Chief Al Karkkainen said 47 fire fighters quickly brought the two-alarm blaze under control, limiting damage mostly to the basement.





Police closed Wellington Street at 1:30 p.m. and reopened it at 3:40 p.m.





Ferguson, the store’s owner, said he won’t know the extent of damage until electrical, health and safety inspections.





“There’s going to be a lot of smoke damage, but we won’t know the level of the damage until we can access the building,” he said.





The 30 employees will be looked after while the store is closed, he promised.





“They will be a big part in helping us get back in operation as get back open.”





Around 14 workers were in the store when the fire started, and up to 60 customers would have been shopping. Employees reported hearing explosions and seeing flashes of light.





“Everyone was quickly evacuated,” said Ferguson. “There was not a single report of any injuries, not even smoke inhalation or anything like. It was extremely professional, extremely diligent, extremely proficient.”