Store owner using candle in power outage destroys 3 buildings

Flames leap Wednesday evening from the second storey of the former Canadian Woodenware building on...

Flames leap Wednesday evening from the second storey of the former Canadian Woodenware building on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 in St. Thomas, Ont. (Ian McCallum/QMI Agency)

Ian McCallum, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:31 PM ET

ST. THOMAS, Ont. -- A store owner securing his building after it lost power because of a fire down the street accidentally started a second fire that destroyed his downtown building and two others, a fire official says.

The first blaze started about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and destroyed the former Canadian Woodenware building on New St. Fire crews had the flames knocked down by 9 p.m.

Power to several buildings in neighbourhood in the west side of downtown was shut off.

The owner of Big John's Plumbing on Talbot St. was checking on his building at 4 a.m. He was using a candle that fell over on his desk, setting it on fire, said Bill Todd, the city's chief fire prevention officer.

The owner tried to put out the fire but it spread and he ran out of the building, Todd said.

The fire spread to an adjacent methadone clinic, Clinic 217, and Bob Jones Auto Parts on either side of Big John's Plumbing. All three buildings were destroyed.

A damage estimate wasn't available.


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