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Suspicious fire causes $500,000 damage at Bradford business

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Police are investigating what is being considered a suspicious blaze at a Bradford business early Friday morning.

"Right now, the evidence that we have is that the fire was intentional. We're trying to determine how the fire was set and why it was set," said Staff Sgt. Dave Phillips with South Simcoe police.

Emergency crews responded to reports of flames and smoke at North Vapes on Holland Street East and Colborne Street.

"Our response time was very quick, and we were able to knock down the fire initially within the first minute or so of being there," said Fire Chief Brent Thomas.

The smoke spread through the entire plaza, causing extensive damage to the neighbouring units.

The fire caused an estimated $500,000 in damage to the vaping business where it originated.

"We made sure that we maintained the continuity of evidence at the scene and then engaged the Office of the Fire Marshal and South Simcoe police," noted the fire chief.

The entire section of the plaza remains closed to allow the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to investigate for health and safety reasons.

The owner of an adjacent business said they have been left with an estimated $10,000 in damage, which doesn't include lost revenue from being closed.

The Bradford Islamic Community Centre had to cancel afternoon prayers due to the fire.

"We have one more Islamic centre here, but it's very small. We are looking at around 150 people for two prayers, so I don't know how to manage," shared Jawed Akhder, the Bradford Islamic Community Centre president.

The impacted businesses will have to receive clearance from the health unit before reopening.

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