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Fire destroys Woolwich house dating back to the 1860s

Smoke could be seen for kilometres from a barn fire on Wellington Road 8 (between Wellington Road 12 and Sideroad 17) on Monday afternoon. No one was hurt, but damage is estimated at $100,000. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Forty firefighters spent more than eight hours Monday battling a blaze at a 19th century house between Maryhill and Conestogo.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Forty firefighters spent more than eight hours Monday battling a blaze at a 19th century house between Maryhill and Conestogo. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
It took 40 firefighters, 32,000 gallons of water and more than eight hours to extinguish a blaze on Monday that consumed a 19th century home between Conestogo and Maryhill.

The house, located at 1364 Durant Rd., was being used as a rental property. While neither the owners nor the tenant were present at the time of the fire, three house cats are believed to have been lost.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, which is believed to involve deteriorated electrical wiring.

“Because of the damage, it’s pretty hard to tell. It could be rodents, or anything like that,” said Woolwich deputy fire chief Dale Martin.

Firefighters from Conestogo and Maryhill stations, supported by Breslau and St. Jacobs, responded to the alarm at 12:01 p.m., but it took until 6 p.m. to get the situation under control. The house’s metal roof posed a challenge for firefighters, as did the extreme cold weather (bottoming out at -17°C).

“At one point we had to take a truck in to get it thawed out,” said Dale Martin. “There were some hoses that were frozen. But that just goes with winter firefighting – we dealt with it.”

Damage is estimated at $330,000 to the property home contents.

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