Nfld. & Labrador

Owner devastated as Deer Lake thrift shop destroyed by fire

Nicole's Hidden Treasures, a dream for its owner, has been reduced to ashes.

Nicole's Hidden Treasures, a dream for its owner, has been reduced to ashes

Fire crews battling the blaze at Nicole's Hidden Treasures on Main Street in Deer Lake Sunday night. (Elwood Lakers/Twitter)

A store that's only been open for a few months in Deer Lake was completely decimated by a fire Sunday night, leaving its owner struggling to comprehend the loss.

Firefighters were called to Nicole's Hidden Treasures on Main Street a little after 9 p.m. and spent hours battling the fire.

Crews were back this morning putting out hot spots, says Darryl Toope, whose wife Nicole Toope owns the store.

"There's not much left to it, just standing walls. The roof is collapsed," Toope said.

They found out about the fire when someone called their house to say there were flames coming up out of the eaves.

Toope and his wife went to the scene to see what was going on, but the extent of the damage proved too overwhelming to witness.

"She's having a really hard time with it," Toope said of his wife.

"A really hard time. We couldn't watch it last night. We had to leave and come on home."

The shop sold used items and antiques, Toope said, and everything in the store was ruined.

Late Monday afternoon, the RCMP said the business was undergoing renovations at the time and "is expected to be a total loss."

Deer Lake Volunteer Fire Department crews dousing the building on Main Street. (Elwood Lakers/Twitter)

But there is a small silver lining, Toope said, because some product was in an off-site storage unit, Toope said.

"But there was a lot of stuff in that building and we had a lot of work put into it — she did, she had a lot of time put into it, a lot of hours," he told CBC Newfoundland Morning.

"You'll never get the antiques back … It's a sad situation."

Toope said he and his wife never expected to "get rich overnight," but business had been doing well since opening a few months ago.

We couldn't watch it last night. We had to leave and come on home.- Darryl Toope

They have insurance on the business, but Toope said it won't be able to cover the full extent of what was lost.

"I don't know how she'll get over it, but there will be another store put back. I don't know if it will ever be the same, but it will be put back. It was a dream of hers," he said, adding there's no word yet on what caused the fire.

"Nobody got hurt, and I'd like to thank the fire department there, they did an awesome job, a really awesome job."

Ladder truck a big help

There were 26 firefighters from Deer Lake, as well as a pumper and six firefighters from Reidville, and three firefighters and another pumper called from Cormack.

Deer Lake Fire Chief Earl Tansley said there's no doubt the fire was devastating, but considering how close together the businesses on Main Street are, it could have been a lot worse.

"These buildings are old and dry and this building here was a structure with a lot of fire load in it," he said.

"The potential was great for a bigger fire, but due to the diligence of the fire crews and their expertise, things went really well, it really went in our favour and the conditions were very adverse."

High winds were blowing directly toward a sport's bar just 16 feet away, Tansley said, and it was a touchy first half hour responding to the fire.

A used ladder truck, purchased just 18 months ago, was key in keeping the fire contained to one building, he said.

"We all agree that without that ladder truck, we fear the outcome would have been much different," Tansley said.

The RCMP said the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and the investigation is continuing. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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