Massive blaze destroys Waterloo businesses

To see a photo gallery of the fire click here

Early Thursday morning a fire broke out at University Avenue West’s Campus Court, destroying numerous businesses including Mel’s Diner, Tabu Nightclub, 140 West Nightclub, Sugar Mountain and Mr. Sushi.

The fire began around 5:30 a.m. in the commercial block frequented by students from both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

No injuries have been reported and the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

“The fire … caused a lot of smoke that drifted over to some of the student housing across the street,” explained University of Waterloo’s Director of Communication and Public Affairs Martin Van Nierop.

The smoke caused some UW students to be evacuated to the campus’ Student Life Centre.

“I suspect that since the fire is under control and the smoke is under control that they might be moving back,” said Van Nierop.

Laurier student Wilson Man, who lives across the street at 139 University Avenue was evacuated from his room.

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Photo by: Nick Lachance

“Around 5:30 [a.m.] the smoke alarms went off and we came out and I didn’t know what was happening and then across the street was just a big fireball,” explained Man.

Residences and houses along University Avenue and Lester Street have been evacuated due to smoke.

Two fire trucks continued to douse the rubble into the morning. Helicopters circled the scene hours after the blaze had been tamed, though the street still smelled of smoke.

“It smells disgusting,” commented Man.

University Avenue will remain closed from Albert Street to Seagram Drive for a period of time as fire crews attempt to tame any resurgence of flames. Philips Street is also closed from University Avenue to Columbia Street. Grand River Transit buses have been rerouted as a result.

Students using public transit are being affected by the closure and according to Van Nierop, they should plan accordingly.

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Photo by: Nick Lachance