Small fire causes temporary closure of Bridgewater retailer


Gow's Home Hardware and Furniture store in Bridgewater delayed opening its west side store for a day after a small late-night fire destroyed pieces of an outdoor furniture display inside the retail building.

The High Street store's sprinkler system did its job, dousing flames that ignited a sofa and chair in the vestibule near the sliding access doors.

"There was quite a bit of water that came out," Michael Nauss, fire chief of Bridgewater's volunteer fire department, told LighthouseNOW in a phone conversation. "As you can imagine, with 125 pounds of pressure, there would be a lot of water before we could actually get in to get it shut down."

Emergency crews were dispatched to the store May 4 - on International Firefighters' Day - just before 10 p.m., nearly two hours after the store's scheduled closing time.

Dispatch informed responding firefighters of a smoke condition in the main entry and the sprinkler activation. One 911 call reporting the incident, was made by a person in the nearby Gateway Plaza parking lot who reported seeing "a small glow and noticed the glow went away," Nauss said.

"The fire was out" on fire department arrival, Nauss noted, but there was "a significant amount of smoke in the main entrance area."

Thousands of litres of water came out of the system before it was deactivated, leaving a depth of several dozen millimetres of water on the floor in the vestibule, which started to pool under the doors into the main store.

"We spent roughly and hour to an hour-and-a-half just mopping up water," Nauss explained. Firefighters were on scene until about 12:30 a.m.

The furniture that caught fire was destroyed. There were no injuries.

The 5,500-square-metre store, which opened in 2019, did not sustain major smoke damage, the fire chief added. Responders set-up ventilation to get the building clear. Smoke largely impacted the vestibule.

Bridgewater's aerial truck established roof access to confirm the fire did not extend upward.

At the time of this writing, Nauss was "not 100 per cent sure" of the cause of the fire, but said there was nothing to suggest it was started via a criminal act. The Bridgewater Police Service confirmed the cause is "not suspicious" in nature. The blaze started inside the building.

The store's insurance provider was looking into the matter, Nauss said, and a restoration company was on scene May 5.

In an online post on social media, Gow's Home Hardware and Furniture said time was needed to "clean, and repair some of the damage."

Store officials acknowledged the fire department's quick response May 4 and extra support.

"We are very fortunate to have such great group of people in our community," the store posted online. "And a very special thank you to the person who saw the fire and called 911. We are forever grateful."

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