A downtown Moncton building that housed a popular specialty food store and three apartments has been destroyed in a Sunday evening fire
The Moncton Fire Department responded to a call at Dolma Foods on St. George Street at about 11:45 p.m. on Sunday.
The large fire drew about 20 firefighters from four stations around the city.
Fire chief Eric Arsenault said firefighters were still at the scene on Monday morning, trying to extinguish the blaze.
"We have had firefighters on scene throughout the entire night. We are still battling a very stubborn fire at this time," he said.
"This is six hours almost seven hours after it started. Unfortunately, the building is a complete loss."
There was also a scary moment at 2 a.m., when firefighters were on the roof and another was on a ladder near the peak of the roof.
A video of the incident shows the crews fighting the fire when an explosion caused a massive ball of flame to fill the early morning sky.
"It is amazing that no one got hurt. We could have easily lost three firefighters as a result of that gas explosion underneath the peak roof," the fire chief said.
"Thankfully everybody got off the roof and no injuries whatsoever."
Arsenault said the conditions to fight the fire were made more difficult because of the building's metal roof and walls.
"It has been a very challenging, frustrating night for our firefighters. They have worked very hard in not very good conditions," he said.
Marie Mourant's video of backdraft starts at about 1:00. Warning some strong language is used.
By 3 a.m., the fire crews decided that the building could not be saved.
"It just got to the point where it was too dangerous to keep firefighters in the building," he said.
The Moncton fire chief said he expects the fire started between the first and second floor and then travelled to the walls and then the roof.
Since the building was demolished, Arsenault said the exact cause of the fire will never been determined.
No one was injured in the fire.
But the fire forced out five adults, who lived in three apartments above the store.
The Canadian Red Cross has arranged emergency lodging, food, clothing and other support.
The fire also destroyed a ground-floor sushi restaurant.
Owner hopes to start over
Hossein Barar, the owner of the building, said he was called at 11:30 p.m. and told to get down to the store quickly.
He said he arrived to see the building completely on fire and all he could do was sit and watch with everybody else who had gathered on the street.
Barar said the firefighters did their best to contain the blaze, but in a few hours, six years of work in setting up the business was destroyed.
"I don't know really what is the next step is going to be. I hope be able to start all over," Barar said.