Conscientious OPP officer spots restaurant fire in Little Current

The Ontario Provincial Police and Ontario Fire Marshal were on the scene at a restaurant fire Saturday morning. -photo by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT—An alarm was triggered at Elliott’s Restaurant in the early morning hours of this past Saturday, but the police response was subsequently called off. Since the officer responding was nearing the end of his shift and going to be headed to his Island home, he decided to stop and check in on the site. Looking through the window of the restaurant the police officer spotted the flames and called in the fire department. That timely response likely helped reduce the damage caused by the fire.

It proved to be a busy weekend for the Northeast Town fire department, with an early morning kitchen fire at Elliott’s Restaurant in Little Current on Saturday, followed by a grass fire in Sheguiandah and a brush fire in Rockville on Sunday night.

In the case of the restaurant fire, the Northeast Town Fire Department was called to the site around 6 am Saturday morning and arrived around five minutes later. According to Northeast Town Fire Chief Duane Deschamps the fire was “relatively” minor and confined to the kitchen area of the restaurant.

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The owners of Elliott’s had originally hoped that they could quickly be up and running again, especially with the long weekend and the accompanying Rainbow Roundup looming close, but they have since discovered that would not be the case.

“There was quite a bit of smoke damage,” said Jodie Shmanka, who owns the restaurant with her partner Jason Elliott, “so it looks like we will be closed for about three weeks. The whole kitchen will likely need to be redone.” Ms. Elliott was adamant that this setback, as distressing as it is, would not keep the couple down and wished to assure customers that the restaurant would not remain closed a moment longer than necessary.

As of press time Monday, the fire was still under investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office and little information or comment was available as to the cause or source of the fire from the Northeast Town fire department.

On Saturday morning the restaurant was surrounded by yellow tape and a police officer was stationed onsite awaiting the arrival of the fire marshal, as per normal procedure, but by Monday morning the site had been released.

“We are just waiting for the insurance to come and inspect things so we can get to work,” said Ms. Elliott.

The fire department also responded to a grass and structure fire on the Sheguiandah First Nation at around 6:45 pm on Saturday. The structure entailed an abandoned house.

In the case of the brush fire in Rockville, the fire department responded around 5:45 pm on Sunday and the fire was quickly brought under control.

“We would like to remind people that any fire over six by six foot in diameter requires that a permit be obtained from the town office,” said Fire Chief Duane Deschamps. “It is free of charge, but it is a requirement of the town bylaws.”

Knowing where a fire will be taking place and who is in charge is of great assistance to the fire department should a call become necessary.