Chatham-Kent fire crews respond to a fire at the Canadian Tire store in Blenheim. November 23, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Chatham-Kent Fire and Emergency Services)

Store Owners Determined To Reopen Before Christmas

Flames from a raging fire may have been the immediate danger, but smoke and water are to blame for lost merchandise and overall damage.

The owners of the Canadian Tire in Blenheim are continuing to clean their store after a fire broke out on November 23.

“Unfortunately it happened on probably the worst day of the year, which is one of our largest sale days, [Red Thursday],” says store owner Stan Pilecki. “It has had a toll on ourselves, our staff, but probably the biggest challenge we have is the stress on our customers. They’re hoping to come to our store for great deals but we’re not open.”

Pilecki says they’re hoping to reopen sometime in the middle of December. However, an exact date is unknown because it’s dependent on when the store is cleaned and stock is replenished.

Minimal damage at Blenheim Canadian Tire Store because of automatic sprinkler system. Nov 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of CKFES)

Damage at Blenheim Canadian Tire Store because of automatic sprinkler system. Nov 24, 2017. (Photo courtesy of CKFES)

“Our biggest challenge is the smoke,” he says. “The soot and the smoke throughout the building is what the concern is now and that’s the clean-up that’s going on.”

Although the store’s sprinkler system and local firefighters contained most of the fire, Pilecki says there’s a “considerable amount” of loss. There has been no word on a damage estimate yet.

As the owners deal with the unfortunate situation, Pilecki says the community has been steeping forward.

“We’ve had a number of regular customers come in to offer their support, even saying that they will hold off on their Christmas shopping until we’re open, which is great,” he says.

He adds that emergency officials with the fire and police departments have also been supportive in providing details and answering questions.

BlackburnNewsCK.com will have updates regarding damages and a re-opening date once it becomes available.