Arson damages local business

The newly-renovated Fort Frances General Supply narrowly escaped destruction when fire broke out there during the early hours of this morning.
Shortly after 2:30 a.m., smoke alarms alerted owner Bill Gushulak and the Fort Frances Fire Department of smoke inside the building located at 617 Mowat Ave.
Gushulak, who arrived at the scene about the same time as the fire department, said he discovered a pile of garbage stacked in a dumpster near the southwest corner of the building was ablaze.
Gushulak noted structural damage was confined to the section immediately adjacent to the source of the fire due to the quick response of the fire department and the presence of functioning smoke alarms.
“We were lucky,” he remarked. “The security and smoke alarms alerted us. Otherwise, it might have spread to the roof and we would have lost everything.”
Instead, damage to the interior and contents was restricted to smoke and water. There is no estimate as to the cost yet.
The fire is under investigation by police and the fire department, but as far as Gushulak is concerned, there is no doubt as to the cause.
“Somebody set fire to the garbage,” he charged.
A press release from the OPP this morning confirmed the incident is being treated as an arson.
Police would like anyone with information regarding this incident to call 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Gushulak said the garbage had just been collected yesterday in preparation for removal.
Fort Frances General Supply had been undergoing extensive renovations since November and plans were in the works for a grand opening on June 10.
But an upbeat Gushulak insisted the incident won’t derail those plans.
“We won’t let this stop us,” he stressed. “We’re still shooting for mid-June.”