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Several students displaced after fire breaks out at Barrie duplex

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Marianne Cowan looked down the street and saw a neighbour's house on fire.

It was Wednesday morning when Cowan saw the flames shooting out of the garage on Tunbridge Road in Barrie's east end.

"The flames were huge," Cowan said. "Parts of it, the house, are burned to the ground."

She said a bus arrived to offer shelter for the displaced students in the pouring rain, courtesy of tropical storm Beryl.

Eight fire trucks poured onto the scene, firefighters now fighting a fire quickly spreading from one garage to the attached garage and duplex next door.

Assistant Deputy Justin Gilbert said crews saw heavy smoke and flames from the garages when they arrived.

"Both units were affected," Gilbert said mid-afternoon as the crews were still putting out hot spots around the house.

"There's no roof on the houses, and (the fire) completely burned through the houses," he added.

Gilbert said the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal had been called to investigate as the damage estimate is over $500,000.

As the students waited on the bus, Abbasi Kothari, owner of Mumbai Central restaurant and A1 Indian Grocery, ducked into a nearby shop and grabbed hamburgers, fries and snacks for them.

"I just don't know what they're going to do right now," Kothari said. "Both houses look miserable – the front looks bad, and the roofs are gone."

Barrie police have confirmed the displaced students have been connected with the local Red Cross.

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