The owner of Dolma Food says he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that he's received after his specialty foods store was razed by fire on Monday.
- Moncton fire destroys food store, leaves 5 homeless
- PHOTO GALLERY: Moncton fire destroys Dolma Foods, apartments
- VIDEO: Hossein Barar talks about the store's future
- VIDEO: Moncton fire chief on explosion's 'scary moment'
The building, which also included three apartments and a sushi restaurant, is no longer standing following the fire that started on Sunday night and burned for hours.
Hossein Barar watched alongside many neighbourhood residents as his store was destroyed by fire on Monday morning. In the aftermath of the fire, Barar said he's been touched by all of the community support that he's received.
"I felt it's a neighbourhood store, they own it, they want it to be opened," he said.
"As manager, I should do my job. I continue to find a solution and see how we can go forward."
There is nothing left of the building that once stood on St. George Street and had housed Barar's business for six years.
The Dolma Food owner will be meeting with his insurance company on Tuesday to get a better understanding of how his coverage will work.
While he doesn't yet know what the new store will look like, he said his customers will see some changes.
"It is always going to be different. People, they know me, usually they say I change almost every minute, more than the Canadian weather," he said.
"Yes, I do change, I don't have any problem to learn every minute from my mistakes and hopefully do a little better."
Local supporters of Dolma Food are organizing a Friday evening event at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre for Barar, his family, the store's 24 staff and the tenants who lived in the building's apartments.
The devastating fire left five people homeless. While the Red Cross provided immediate assistance to those people, Big Hearts Small City has stepped up with some longer term help.
Loss for local producers
The community group said on Monday evening it had found new places to live for four of the five people affected by the fire. It is also trying to contact the fifth individual whose apartment was destroyed to see if he needs help.
Aaron Shantz, the community co-ordinator for Our Food South East New Brunswick, said the fire at Dolma Food is a huge loss for local producers.
He said he expects people to rally behind Barar, who he said has always been willing to help local food producers.
"It's neat to see a high end grocery store that really believes in food access so making sure local suppliers actually have access to the market and are promoted but are also concerned about people who do not have access to good quality food," Shantz said on Monday.
"There are a lot of local producers who can attest to him being willing to give their products a shot."
Shantz said the community will join together to help Barar rebuild Dolma Foods.
He said he hasn't heard about Barar's future plans, but he said "Hossein is definitely a person who doesn't run out of ideas."
Fire's cause unknown
Fire officials have not been able to pinpoint the cause of the fire because the building had to be demolished.
Moncton's fire chief said the stubborn fire took hours to battle because it was moving inside the floors and walls and under the metal roof.
At one point, as two firefighters were on the building's roof and another was on a ladder, there was an explosion and a massive fireball lit up the early morning sky.
Fire Chief Eric Arsenault said no one was injured but that event could have been deadly.
Barar said on Tuesday if that explosion would have killed any of the firefighters, it would have been impossible to rebuild, especially on that St. George property. He said it was a "miracle" that none of the firefighters were hurt.
"If somebody got hurt there, I could not continue that again in that location," he said.
"It just wouldn't be the same. I couldn't continue every day, day after day in the same location if I know somebody lost their life there. Luckily … it has not happened."