Moncton, NB Explosion and Fire : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saturday, August 19, 2000

Fire spread like 'inferno' Building owner

MONCTON, N.B. (CP) -- A fire that tore through downtown Moncton, sending flames shooting 30 metres over buildings, was contained late Saturday.

Nobody was harmed in the blaze but it destroyed three buildings on the city's main street -- two of them built in the 1890s.

Greg Turner, owner of Colpitts Mens' Wear, said "when I left my home in Riverview to come over I could see flames one hundred feet in the air."

"It was a very frightening scene to say the least."

The clothing-store owner called the fire "an inferno" that destroyed a large part of his life's work.

A police officer who was on patrol heard an explosion early Saturday morning and discovered the fire a few minutes later.

Firefighters said the flames spread from Goodfellas pub to the adjacent buildings where Colpitts and Crandall Photo Studios are located.

Little was left of the historic buildings Saturday afternoon except a smoking pile of black rubble.

Several condominiums on Main Street were gutted, leaving residents homeless. The Moncton office of CCL Group, a communications company, was also damaged.

Both Colpitts and Crandall studios were second-generation family businesses and the buildings they occupied gave the downtown core part of its character, said Turner.

He said the city was proud of the renewal of its downtown during the 1990s, as new businesses and residents moved back into the city's centre.

The destruction is a major blow to that progress, he added.

"We've lost a piece of our history."

Investigators were combing the remains the buildings on Saturday, hoping to find clues to what caused the fire.

-- Rachel Gibson (, August 21, 2000

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