Second fire in seven months at Brockville’s old Hengeveld’s Grocery building

Photo by Adrian Parker

For the second time in seven months, the Brockville Fire Department was called to the old Hengevelds Grocery building at 113 Perth Street to put out a fire.

The call came in at about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, and firefighters successfully knocked the fire down and cleared the scene by 1 a.m., Deputy Fire Chief Chris Paul told Brockvilleist.

No injuries were reported, and there was no damage to any adjacent buildings, Paul said.

The building has been vacant since it was gutted by a fire in the early hours of Sept. 16, 2023, which claimed the life of one resident of the then-apartment building. The intersection also made headlines in the summer of 2023, when there was a fire at 109 Perth Street, a biker club house.

The old Hengevelds building was set to be demolished this week, Paul told Brockvilleist.

Paul said it’s “undetermined” whether or not the fire is deemed suspicious, and the fire department has closed its investigation.

“The building isn’t properly safe for us to do entry because of the previous fire,” he explained. “The whole third floor had been removed, along with the roof system. We were in a defensive fire attack position strictly, so we can’t determine cause.”

Paul noted that while electricity for the building was shut off, there have been recent reports of individuals in the immediate area.

“We were aware that there were people scavenging in that building after the original fire, going through debris, looking for copper wires or whatever,” Paul recalled.

More recently, “there were reports that the police saw people in the building and asked them to leave. There could have been people inside the building but we can’t confirm any suspicious activity as a result of the fire last night.”

Paul said the city’s building department will be assessing the scene early this week, “but it shouldn’t be anything to prevent the [demolition moving forward] because we’re not having an investigation…as long as there are no other concerns from the company that’s doing the demolition.”

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