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Sirocco Drive fire tears through several Calgary small businesses

Businesses at a Southwest strip mall risk losing customers and stock after a fire ripped through the plaza early this morning. 

At approximately 2:35 a.m. on July 20, the Calgary Fire Department (CFD) started receiving calls about a fire at the 1800 block of 1800 Sirocco Dr. S.W. Six businesses were directly affected by the fire, however, the severity of the damages is still unknown.

Corey White, co-owner of Doodle Dogs, said he received the call about the fire from his business partner at 3 a.m. on Thursday. White said that they immediately checked their surveillance cameras and saw firefighters assessing the scene.

“It was 3 a.m., it was quite the scene to see our store wide open with lights and water and hoses,” White said.

“It was kind of scary and kind of shocking for sure at that hour of the morning.”

White said that Doodle Dogs provides food, treats and other needs to their customers daily. With the closure of their building, White is concerned that their business will see losses to competitors, causing stress to reopen as quickly as possible. 

“We’re probably going to have to restock everything because it is edible goods in store. So it’s going to be a lot of extra time and stress to get open as fast as we can so that we can start service in the neighbourhood and not lose too much business in the downtime,” said White.

Although the Doodle Dogs location in Sirocco Dr. is not currently operational, White stressed that their website is avaible 24/7 and their delivery is still in service. 

Another business that was affected by the fires is Signal Hill Barber, which has been in business for more than 10 years.

Rob Rakka, the business owner, said he received the call about the fire early this morning but hasn’t been able to assess the damages yet. He said that the business will be dealt with, he is just glad nobody was injured.

“As long as nobody was in the building, no human loss, that’s what matters,” said Rakka. 

There are currently no reported injuries as a result of the fire.

Structure is still unstable

The reason why business owners haven’t been able to assess the degree of damage yet is because the integrity of the structure is too unstable. The CFD called in an engineer to provide guidance on shoring to ensure the structure would be safe for investigators.

Windows at Calgary Hearing Aid and Audiology have been smashed after a fire broke out. Six other businesses were also damaged from the fire on July 20, 2023. ISABELLA WEST / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY.

At this time, CFD doesn’t believe the fire occurred under suspicious circumstances however, the cause is still unknown and the investigation is ongoing. There is no timeframe for when an update will be provided. However, the CFD requests that any information, videos, and photos that were taken prior to their arrival on the scene be emailed to piofire@calgary.ca.

Carol Henke, public information officer at CFD said that the fire department appreciates those who make calls to 911 when needed because it allows them to react faster and prevent damages from spreading sooner. 

“Some people might be prone to thinking ‘oh, I’m sure someone else has called it in,’ but if everyone thinks that, then no one has called it in. So we always appreciate the sooner people can call in an emergency,” said Henke. 

“The sooner we’re made aware of an emergency, the sooner we can respond, and the sooner we can start fighting the fire.” 

A resident from a neighbouring building was visiting the scene today and was shocked by the damages. Shannon Stucky has lived in the area for nearly 10 years, frequently visiting some of the businesses that suffered the damage. She said that she woke up this morning to the smell of smoke but upon inspection of her own home, she told herself it was nothing and went back to sleep. When she woke up this morning, Stucky said that her father called her and told her about the fire that happened right next to her home. 

“I had to come see it, I had to come take a look and it’s it’s awful. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t even read the stories. I just came out to look at it right away,” said Stucky.