Firefighters battling structure fire in west end of Wasaga Beach

A massive fire in a shoreline neighbourhood in the west end of Wasaga Beach destroyed one home and did significant damage to another.

Lia Velez said her husband started to yell for her to get out of their home in Blue Water on the Bay off Beachwood Road, after their neighbour’s home became engulfed in flames.

“I didn’t realize how big the fire was,” Velez said. “I came out and (my neighbour’s house) was already engulfed. We’re thankfully all OK, but where do you begin now? You’re watching your home burn down in front of your eyes — you can’t even imagine.”

She grabbed the family dog and safely evacuated before the fire burned started to burn through the second floor of their home.

The resident of the home where the fire originated declined to comment to a reporter.

Emergency crews were called to the neighbourhood at 12:17 p.m. Crews arrived to find one home engulfed, and the fire jumping from the first single detached dwelling to the second. Wasaga Beach Deputy Fire Chief Craig Williams estimated the damage to both homes, as well as to neighbouring buildings, at around $2 million.

Across the street from the fire, the radiant heat melted the siding of buildings, including the neighbourhood’s club house.

Williams said the one resident arrived home and “could see embers from the eaves of the garage.”

Everyone was able to evacuate safely, he said. Two firefighters were assessed by paramedics on the scene for heat-related complications, as neighbours brought bottled water for the crews fighting the blaze. Approximately 20 firefighters from Wasaga Beach, and four from Collingwood were on the scene with that department’s aerial truck. Firefighters from Clearview and Springwater fire departments were called in to provide coverage for the two Wasaga fire halls.

Williams said it took 90 minutes for crews to bring the fire under control.

Russ Giffin said he was in a back room of his house when he saw thick smoke. He stepped outside and saw a neighbouring home’s garage engulfed.

“It’s gotten bigger, by far,” he said, adding he watched a neighbour attempt to use a garden hose on the flames.

The Ontario Fire Marshal has also been called because of the dollar value of the loss.

OPP are also on the scene and while Beachwood remains open, police are asking people to avoid the area.

The Town of Wasaga Beach has mentioned on social media that this fire is requiring the department to use a significant amount of water and residents may experience discoloured water due to the ongoing water demands.