WATERLOO – A major fire at the St. Jacobs Market building near Waterloo gutted the popular attraction early Monday, causing more than a million dollars in damage.
The fire sent some 45 firefighters to the two-storey, 24,000-square-foot building that houses about 60 vendors around 2:30 a.m.
Photos from the scene show the entire building engulfed in flames.
The building that burned down did not contain any livestock, Woolwich Township Fire Chief Rick Pedersen said at a noon-hour news conference.
“We’re very lucky that the wind was going the opposite way toward the livestock building.”
There were no injuries and it was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, which is being investigated by the Ontario Fire Marshal.
“There is nothing suspicious at this point,” Pedersen said
He says the wood building, as well as fabrics and other materials sold by vendors, fuelled the blaze, which took firefighters three hours to put out.
Mayor Todd Cowan says the municipality will do what it can to get the market open again.
“This is a devastating loss for St. Jacobs, the Township of Woolwich, the region and the agricultural community,” Cowan said in a statement.
“The Township of Woolwich will work with the community and the owners to help re-establish the market as soon as possible.”
Premier Kathleen took to Twitter to thank firefighters who battled the fire and express her regrets at the loss of the market.
“The destruction of the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is a terrible loss to the Waterloo region. St. Jacobs played such an important role in the community and contributed greatly to the local economy.”
The market’s outdoor section could be open to food sellers and the public by Thursday.