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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Kimball Building Supply loses showroom and offices in Thanksgiving weekend fire

- this is the third fire the local business has experienced -

by Sylene Argent

On the evening of Sunday, October 10, while many families were enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, owners of Kimball Building Supply Centre were informed the local store’s showroom and office building was ablaze.

  The building, as a result of the fire, has been reduced to rubble.

  “We got a call shortly after seven,” Kevin Kimball said, who is of the operation’s founding family and has worked at the establishment since he was 12-years-old. “We still don’t know the cause. We never thought we would have to go through this again.”

  This is the third fire the local business has experienced, since it was established by brothers, Lloyd and Harold Kimball, in 1966.

  Judy Kimball, Harold’s wife, explained the first fire at the local establishment took place on June 29, 1979. This blaze affected the main building. The second fire took place a year and a week later after the first, affecting a shed on the property, during the rebuilding process.

  Kevin noted the showroom that was claimed by the recent fire was renovated around ten-years ago.

  The business is getting set up with a temporary office, and is still open for business.

  Judy noted on the Tuesday morning, after the fire, six trucks were deployed to fulfill deliveries, and another eleven were sent out Wednesday morning.   

  “We are taking care of builders, contractors, and roofers, who all depend on us,” Judy said. “They got to keep going.”

  Kevin added Kimball plans to rebuild the showroom and office space.

  Judy noted many photos of the original Kimball staff, in addition to other memorabilia, were destroyed in the fire, which added to the loss of the building.  

  “We have had good support. Many stepped up to help us out,” Kevin said, noting individuals, some they did not even know, stopped by to drop off water, coffee, or offer words of encouragement.

  Kimball employs 20 full and part-time employees.

  Kingsville Fire Chief John Quennell said the fire, from the start, was a defensive fire and was fully involved through the attic area. Because of this, firefighters could not get entry into the building, which he said was unoccupied at the time.

  He added, with the amount of damage, there is no reasonable aspect to determine the cause and origin of the fire, and there was nothing suspicious.

  It is being listed as a large-loss fire, with damages estimated to be around $1.5M.

  At the height of the fire, Quennell said there were 34 fire personnel on scene, with nine assisting from the Town of Essex, who brought a ladder truck to help fight the fire.

  As Kingsville Firefighters battled the blaze, Quennell said personnel from Leamington Fire manned Kingsville’s South Station, to ensure Kingsville was not without fire coverage.

  He said the fire departments in County of Essex have one of the best mutual aid programs in the province.

  Quennell thanked the Essex and Leamington departments for their assistance on a Sunday night during a holiday weekend, when they could have been busy spending time with family.

  “The response we had was tremendous on how people would leave their homes and come help their neighbours,” he said.

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