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Oct. 23, 2021 | Saturday
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Electrical problem blamed for massive NOTL fire
The fire aftermath. (Richard Harley file photo)

An electrical malfunction caused a massive fire last month that did more than $1 million in damage to businesses housed in three huge, repurposed former barns on Townline Road, the Ontario fire marshal says.

The fire, which started on the afternoon of Feb. 9 and burned into the early hours of the next day, destroyed several businesses, including Reclaimed by Roots, a custom producer of live-edge wood products.

The blaze was accidentally sparked by "an electrical failure or malfunction," a spokesperson for the fire marshal told The Lake Report.

A detailed report of the fire investigation has been turned over to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The provincial agency's report has not been released publicly but, "Based on our response on the day of the fire, we can confirm the area of origin was a single-storey block ‘office’ building that adjoins the chicken barn and main furniture shop," fire chief Nick Ruller told The Lake Report.

The 500-foot-long barns, at 1238 Townline Rd., were also home to auto-repair businesses, boat storage facilities and companies building race cars.

In the aftermath of the blaze, Ruller estimated the damage total at $2.5 million and noted fire crews helped save between $2.5 million and $4 million in property.

Business owners pegged the damage figure much higher, but the official fire marshal report estimates the building losses totalled $300,000 and the contents about $1 million.

“I am proud of our team for their response efforts during the significant fire and the assistance they provided with investigation efforts and managing hot spots in the days to follow,” Ruller said in a statement Tuesday.

Several GoFundMe campaigns were launched after the fire and as of this week had raised more than $35,000 to help some of the businesses recover.