Damage is estimated at $2 million following a suspicious early morning fire at Beyond The Blue Box on Covert Street in Cobourg.
Cobourg firefighters were dispatched at 3:37 a.m. to the business located on Covert Street just west of Division Street.
Cobourg Police who were on general patrol spotted the fire.
When fire crews arrived flames were coming from the west side of the building and had spread into the interior.
Firefighters quickly knocked down the exterior fire, then went on a interior attack.
Fire Chief Ellard Beaven said when crews were battling the flames approximately 30 metres inside the building conditions began to deteriorate rapidly and firefighters evacuated the building and had to fight the fire from the exterior.
“Because of the combustibles and the type of building that it is – there is substantial rows of clothing, with zero visibility getting around that caused us some issues.”
There were a number of heavy air conditioner units on top of the roof and one of them fell through at one point of the fire.
“That’s definitely a concern for us – it’s how long that fire has been burning by the time our crews advance.”
Executive Director of Beyond the Blue Box, Jane Hawthorne watched in shock as fire crews battled to save the structure that has been in operation since 1992.
“It’s a big loss for the community and it’s sad for the community. It’s sad for our paid staff our volunteers – for people in need and for everybody all around. It’s a terrible loss.”
For over three decades Beyond the Blue Box has diverted from land fills, employ people with developmental disabilities and work with agencies to make sure people in need get the supplies they can use.
There are approximately 17 people that work at Beyond The Blue Box and 100% of what they make goes back into the community.
The building was a total loss and due to the suspicious nature of the fire, the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) was called in to determine a cause.
An investigator with the OFM arrived on Wednesday, September 20 and will be continuing their investigation of the scene on Thursday.
A note on Beyond the Blue Box Facebook site read: “This morning, the Beyond the Blue Box family and our entire community were jolted awake by news of the terrible fire. We will be closed until further notice, but we will return. Much work needs to be done, but we have the great fortune of tremendous community support, so we will endure.
We are grateful for the rapid and dedicated response of fire crews. They were able to contain the fire to the main building, so our barn and boutique buildings are unharmed. All staff, public and fire crew are safe, and no one was hurt. We are fortunate that this wasn’t any worse.
Thank you to all the messages of concern and support from all over Northumberland County. Keep an eye on this page for further updates. We won’t be able to accept physical donations for some time, but we look forward to welcoming you all back soon.”