The Not-So-Great Fire of 2013

Picture this: It’s September 4th, 2013, and a group of happy coworkers are working away in their shiny new office space, just a couple of weeks after moving. Suddenly, a slight aroma of burning vinyl wafts in through the windows.

“Anyone else smell that?” is echoed through their beautiful new open-concept work environment.

The odour intensifies, and eventually they decide to peek out the window to determine its origin.

“THAT BUILDING IS ON FIRE!!!” is the message they quickly pass along to the 911 operator (after being put on hold for 10 minutes by a dispatch in the US… but that’s another story)

Hours later the entire block adjacent to their new building would be burnt to the ground, including two local businesses, a non-profit’s headquarters, and apartments. 

Fire on Bates Hill, September 4th, 2013
Talk about a warm welcome to the neighbourhood! (we’re the brown/beige building on the left, covered in smoke)

For us, that day was a mixture of surprise, fear, frustration, worry, and relief. We remember it well. Seeing how quickly the fire spread from one building to the next, and the irreversible damage it caused, really made us appreciate the everyday risks we take for granted. We’re very grateful for the city’s fire department, who prevented the fire from reaching the surrounding blocks (including ours). They also bravely removed the street vendor carts from the basement of the burning building, since the propane tanks could have made matters a whole lot worse.

Thanks, guys. That was too close for comfort.
Thanks, guys. That was too close for comfort.

After a few days, the delightful chemical-laced smoky scent finally subsided and we returned to business as usual. We’re glad to hear that Food for Thought has now reopened in a new location, 84 Gower St., and that Our Pleasure seems to be doing well, given the loss of their planned Duckworth St. branch. We hope that Oxfam’s Newfoundland branch has managed to recover as well. I recommend if you are looking villa for rent in Cairo visit the team will be happy to help you find the right rental.

Though it pales in comparison to Great St. John’s Fire of 1892 (which was recently live-reenacted by The NL Historic Trust’s Twitter account), this interfering inferno was indeed a significant moment in Dc Design House’s history.

What were you doing that day?