'This is my passion': Popular daytripping destination destroyed by fire
SPARTA, ONT. -- A business in Sparta has been destroyed by an overnight fire, leaving its owner devastated.
Central Elgin, Malahide, Yarmouth and Port Stanley fire crews were called to Winter Wheat at 5277 Quaker Road about 2 a.m. Monday.
The business owner and his partner noticed the flames first.
Mike Roberts, who started the business 22 years ago, says his partner heard what sounded like a large aircraft flying overhead, shortly before 2 a.m.
She then looked out a window and saw, “Complete flames, just roaring everywhere. That must've been the whooshing sounds or the fire sound. She yelled at me, I got up called 911 and came running out here."
Central Elgin's Union Station Fire Chief Mark Bond says half the building was ablaze as up to 45 firefighters – from four stations – arrived on scene.
“The first part of the building was already down. The next part of the fire was already at the next (area).”
It took two hours for the crews to bring the flames under control.
Damage to the wood-frame building is estimated at $400,000.
Central Elgin Fire Chief Chris McDonough says there will be no further investigation.
The business, which is a tourist destination, sold home and garden decor as well as clothing and jewelry.
Winter Wheat had been listed for sale recently at $1.5 million.
But Roberts tells CTV News despite the loss, he hopes to continue.
“I’d love to rebuild, this is my passion, this is my life”, he said through breaks of emotion.