Flames doused, but 2 landmark Charlottetown businesses lost
The building housing Maid Marian's Diner and the Sherwood Drug Mart on Brackley Point Road in Charlottetown went up in flames Wednesday night.
By 9:30 p.m., an hour and a half after the fire began, the crowd of awestruck onlookers was six deep in places, watching as flames shot out of the roof of the building housing the diner and drugstore.
Robert Mitchell, the MLA for the area who was among the onlookers, said: "This is an unbelievable loss to the community: two mainstay businesses. At least three families affected and many, many employees, including two of my own children.
"My son and daughter both work at Maid Marian's. So a lot of emotion right now. A lot of emotion with everybody."
Employees from both businesses huddled off to the side and watched as their workplaces collapsed before their eyes. One woman who worked at the drugstore could say little when asked to comment.
"It's too personal," she said, wiping away tears.
A huge fireload
The fire was fought from all four sides, with more than 50 firefighters.
'We've had numerous small explosions.'— Fire Chief Bill Hogan
Charlottetown fire Chief Bill Hogan said no one was injured, adding that was remarkable considering the challenges of fighting the fire.
"The restaurant of course and the grease that would be in a normal operation," said Hogan.
"Then in the pharmacy, well you take a walk through any pharmacy and just see everything that's in a modern-day pharmacy. We've had numerous small explosions. Those are probably aerosol cans. There's a huge fireload in these buildings. That's the contents inside the building to burn. And that's basically what's burning here now."
Hogan says it's too soon to say what caused the fire, but could say when firefighters arrived, it was mainly in the back between the two businesses.
Six propane tanks were inside Maid Marian's when the fire broke out.
Four tanks were removed but two were still inside at about 10 p.m. as the fire raged.
Hogan said at that time that the fire was contained, but still not under control.