Petawawa – Two business were destroyed late Monday night and the occupants of four apartments were displaced when fire razed a two-storey structure on Petawawa Boulevard.

At approximately 11:20 p.m. on July 3, the Petawawa Fire Department was dispatched to the address of 3478 Petawawa Boulevard, where Liberty Tax and The Barber Shop Petawawa were located, as well as four apartments in the building. The department responded with 14 personnel, two pumper/tankers and a utility vehicle.

“When we arrived on scene, the rear of the structure was well involved,” noted Acting Chief Craig Proulx.

He said when they arrived on scene, they were notified all occupants of the apartments had safely evacuated the building. He said firefighters conducted an exterior attack only as they could not make entry due to how much the fire was advanced.

Actg. Ch. Proulx said within about 15 minutes of arrival, he activated Mutual Aid and Garrison Petawawa dispatched their aerial ladder truck and four personnel to assist with the fire. He said the fire was under control within two hours. He said there was one other business on the western perimeter of the building burning that firefighters protected at the height of the fire.

Actg. Ch. Proulx said personnel were on scene overnight and would be there throughout Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday putting out hot spots. He said the roof of the structure caved in during the fire. There was also a significant amount of water put into the building to douse the flames.

The firefighters were assisted by County of Renfrew paramedics, who assessed them for possible heat-related issues during the fire.

“Our guys did a great job with what they were up against, from the time of arrival even until now that we’re getting into the warmer weather,” he said. “Today, it’s supposed to hit up to 40, so we’re taking all kinds of precautions to keep them from overheating.”

 Members of the OPP and Ontario Hydro were also on scene.

Actg. Ch. Proulx said they have an idea as to the possible cause of the fire, but the investigation is in its earliest stages. He has notified both the OPP and the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office, who are assisting with the investigation. Asked if this suggested the cause might be suspicious, he replied, “Nothing has been ruled out.”

Petawawa Boulevard is closed between Victoria and Bert Streets, with detours in place.

The fire was on a busy section of Petawawa Boulevard and the corridor is one of the busiest roads in the county with heavy traffic into the Garrison each day.