A landmark business on Harvey Street in Harbour Grace that has been catering to the health and medical needs of area residents for many years is swarming with firefighters at this hour.
The nearly 40 year-old building located in the heart of the town is home to Sinyard’s Pharmacy and the Harbour Grace Medical Clinic.
At about 8:30 a.m. today (Feb. 14), employees detected an unusual odour in the building and quickly evacuated.
In short order, the building was filling with heat and smoke, and firefighters from Harbour Grace and Carbonear were on the scene.
The fire is now under control and smoke is being vented from the building, but efforts were continuing up to 10:30 a.m. to eliminate hot spots inside the walls that had been discovered by a thermal imaging device.
The busy street has been closed and the nearby Royal Garage vehicle dealership has been advised to curtail business for the remainder of the day, said Harbour Grace Chief Ray Verge.
The situation is especially troubling because the building accommodates the only pharmacy and medical clinic in the town, though sensitive medical records and a fully stocked pharmacy appears to have been protected.
The building is owned by Madonna Rose. She is also the pharmacist/owner of Sinyard’s Pharmacy, having purchased the prominent business from Rex Sinyard four years ago following his retirement.
Rose watched with tears in her eyes this morning as smoke poured from the building, but stated “we’ll be up and running again in no time.”
The medical clinic, meanwhile, is operated by two well-known doctors, Lonz Button and Gerald Power. Both have been tending to patients in the town for about four decades each.
“All we can do now is wait,” Dr. Button replied when asked what might become of the medical clinic.
Eight people are employed with the two businesses. Some eight patients were also in the medical clinic when the evacuation was ordered.
There were no injuries, though an ambulance was at the scene.
Chief Verge said it’s too early to tell what caused the fire.
For more comprehensive coverage, including additional photos, pick up a copy of the Feb. 19, 2013 print edition of The Compass.