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Officials tight-lipped over North Vapes fire investigation

South Simcoe police and the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario were both called in following the May 10 incident at a Bradford plaza

They're not blowing smoke, at least.

But in the days following what's been deemed a "suspicious" fire at a newly opened vape shop in Bradford, investigators are mostly keeping their mouths shut.

South Simcoe police and the Office of the Fire Marshal of Ontario were both called in following the May 10 incident, though neither seemed willing to provide much of an update to BradfordToday this week.

“The investigation is going and no cause has been determined just yet,” fire marshal spokesperson Sean Driscoll said in an email. “At this time, further questions are best directed to local police.”

So we prodded the police department and got a similar reply.

“The investigation is ongoing and (the criminal investigation branch is) not providing any additional information,” Sgt. Dave Phillips said Wednesday morning. 

On Friday at about 3 a.m., police, firefighters and County of Simcoe paramedics attended the call for a structure fire at the plaza at 136 Holland St. E., where the North Vapes store was reported to be engulfed in flames. 

Other units in the plaza suffered smoke damage — with heavier amounts found in Lil’ Schnitzel and Bangkok Saigon Noodle. 

However, those businesses have since been given the go-ahead to reopen by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). 

“Two food premises were instructed to remain closed until cleaning/sanitizing/remediation had been completed and a satisfactory re-inspection was conducted by SMDHU,” health unit spokesperson Heather Howe said. “As of (May 13) morning, both food premises were re-inspected and permitted to reopen.”

North Vapes held its grand opening on April 20

It offered different brands of vaporizers and nicotine-based oils including open pods, closed pods and disposables, plus vaping accessories.

Bradford Fire and Emergency Services Chief Brent Thomas said last week the North Vapes unit sustained “significant” damage and nothing inside appears salvageable. However, the plaza itself still seems structurally sound. 

“With the quick detection of the fire and firefighting, the building will be structurally evaluated, but they were compliant to fire code,” he said.

Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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