Fire in downtown Port Dover

PORT DOVER – A fire that destroyed two businesses in Port Dover Tuesday could’ve been a lot worse.The blaze at 217 Main Street seriously damaged the building that housed the Coldwell Banker real estate office and Darbishire Cabinets beside it. The flames broke out around 1:15 p.m. on the west side of Main Street across from the Port Dover Dairy Bar.The situation appeared touch-and-go until about 4 p.m. The building where the fire began is next to a block of storefronts, offices and second-floor apartments which includes the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, the head office of the Port Dover Board of Trade, Destination 13, On The Fringe, Re/Max Erie Shores, Trish’s Bakery and Schofield’s Bistro among other establishments.“Unfortunately, the fire got into the walls and into the attic,” Scott Pipe, Norfolk’s assistant fire chief, said at the scene. “It’s a hard fight but we’re winning. It’s a hot day and the firefighters are getting beat up.”As Pipe spoke, firefighters were in a defensive posture that included raining down a “water curtain” in the area where the destroyed building merged with Destination 13. The top corner of the latter caught fire but it appears the strategy worked. If it hadn’t, it could’ve been a long night for firefighters, affected residents and businesses, and the town of Port Dover in general.Pipe said one person was taken from the scene to hospital. Pipe was unable to confirm whether this was as a result of the fire. Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP said the victim was a woman.As well, a matinee audience enjoying a performance of the curling comedy Hurry Hard at LFT up the street was evacuated as a precaution.Tuesday afternoon, LFT said the Tuesday night performance of Hurry Hard would go ahead as scheduled. As well, the theatre said it would be in contact with patrons who had to evacuate “to make arrangements” in response to the inconvenience.Until recently, the building where the fire began belonged to John and Betty Wells of Port Dover.Tuesday, the couple said the upper level was run as a boarding house when they owned it, one with an apartment unit and four furnished rooms which were rented by the week or by the month. Officials at the scene said the fire started in the upper-level apartment, which was badly damaged if not destroyed.Thick, acrid smoke drifted through downtown Port Dover for the duration of the fire. The smell was also general throughout the core. Police and fire officials edged the large crowd away from the scene and taped off the area because the fumes were so thick and toxic.“We’re trying to keep people out of the area,” Pipe said. “The smoke is bad and very bad for you.”Main Street was closed to through traffic between Park Street and Clinton Street. There was no word at press time of a suspected cause, a damage estimate, or whether the owner of the building was insured.MSonnenberg@postmedia.comNorfolk County Fire are working on putting out the blaze in the building that houses Coldwell Banker and DC Cabinets in Port Dover. pic.twitter.com/5Nads488cF— The Simcoe Reformer (@Simcoe_Reformer) July 16, 2019

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