Fire destroyed a St. Jacobs business Wednesday night, requiring crews from three Woolwich fire stations to bring it under control. Damage to the Kel-Care Metal Polishing building is estimated at $400,000.
Firefighters from St. Jacobs, Conestogo and Elmira were called out to the Albert Street location at 4 p.m. after a small fire was reported in a dust collector.
“Workers were grinding and sparks got into the dust collector and that spread quickly into the walls, the second floor and into the roof,” said township fire chief Rick Pedersen. “Crews were able to extinguish the fire on the main floor but it had spread too quickly.”
Smoke could be seen from the garage door on the west side of the building and escaping through the roof as firefighters organized themselves by setting up a base of operation on the south side of Albert Street, directly across from the building.
Two fire trucks from Elmira were summoned, including the aerial ladder to help firefighters extinguish the blaze from above as multiple teams fought the fire from the ground, shooting streams of water drawn from the village’s fire hydrants and the nearby Conestogo River.
“We had a lot of guys working very hard to control the blaze,” said Pedersen.
It took 45 Woolwich Township volunteer firefighters all night to battle the blaze at the two-story building, with the last truck leaving at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.
A plume of dark smoke could be seen high above the village drifting east over the township.
“We have had the building inspector in and are limiting the access because of structural problems. It seems like the building is a total loss,” said Pedersen.