The mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay says a fire that levelled two businesses in the town on Friday morning could have been much worse if not for the military.

"The firefighters from 5 Wing Goose Bay and a piece of equipment showed up to support our crew," said Leo Abbass.

"I'm told without them and the piece of machinery they brought in ... the buildings adjacent to it would have been in jeopardy."

Firefighters called to scene twice

Happy Valley-Goose Bay's fire department was first called to the building on Hamilton River Road - which housed Goose Bay Sports and The Source electronics store - at about 1:30 a.m.

The town's firefighters thought they had the fire under control. Deputy fire chief Robert Hinks called the scene safe and secure after running heat sensors through the building.

But at 6:30 a.m., the building erupted in flames again, with thick black smoke from burning camping equipment and electronics visible from everywhere in the town.

That, according to Abbass, was when military firefighters arrived with their equipment, joining the town's fire crew. About 20 firefighters in total tried to tame the orange flames all morning. By Friday afternoon, firefighters were still dealing with hot spots. 

Surrounding buildings saved

The fire crews managed to keep the fire from spreading to a church and a restaurant on each side of the building.

Electricity to businesses and homes in the surrounding area was cut off while the crews fought the blaze.

The home of the building's owners, located directly behind the site, was not damaged.

No one was injured.

The RCMP will dig through the rubble of the building for clues to the cause of the fire once firefighters ensure the scene is safe.