A structure fire on December 14 threw flames high into the night in the south end of Kemptville and startled some residents with early morning explosion sounds. The fire call went out to the North Grenville Fire Service at 4:57 am after a passerby observed flames and called 911.
“While en route to the incident, fire officials observed heavy flames coming from the entire roof structure,” said Fire Chief John Okum. “Upon arrival, it was confirmed the detached commercial auto repair garage was fully involved and the roof had already begun to fail, collapsing into the building. The fire was well advanced before being detected by [the] passerby. The building was not equipped with automatic sprinklers or an automatic fire alarm and detection system.”
Chief Okum explained that firefighters laid a water supply hose from Van Buren street down Nursery Road to fight the fire. “A defensive fire attack was initiated with crews also protecting exposures,” he said.
Residents in the area who thought they heard several morning explosions were not wrong. “This was a result of building contents exposed to heavy fire conditions, including vehicle tires blowing, automotive fuel systems releasing, and compressed containers venting,” Chief Okum added. “These releases were contained within the structure, while producing loud explosive sounds in the area.”
Luckily, a northeasterly wind took smoke and embers away from neighbouring structures, preventing more fires. Chief Okum confirmed that the garage structure deteriorated rapidly and began to collapse, though once on scene, firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control quickly. “An excavator was brought to the scene to assist with removing collapsed materials so remaining hot spots could be fully extinguished,” the Chief said.
Thankfully, there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters as a result of the fire, though the commercial garage building and contents were a total loss. There were several vehicles inside the building that were damaged as well.
Police officers and paramedics assisted the fire department on scene. Fire crews remained on scene until 10 am to ensure that the fire was completely out, and then stayed for several more hours to conduct their investigation. Chief Okum confirmed that “Due to the extent of fire damage, the cause of the fire could not be established and will be filed as undetermined, but accidental in nature.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been started to try and help out the owner Chris Braunoehler of CB Customs in Kemptville a little. He is just a one-man shop, and this fire was the second time in 10 years that his place of business burned down: https://www.gofundme.com/f/fire-devastates-oneman-business-please-help