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Dec 07,2007
Fire destroys historic hotel in Canada
by UPI

BARRIE, Ontario - An explosion and fire destroyed several buildings early Friday in Barrie, Ontario, including a historic hotel.

The fire was ignited by a blast in the Royal Thai Cuisine restaurant at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Osprey News Network reported. The blaze spread quickly from that building to others nearby.

The Wellington Hotel, more than a century old, was gutted.

"It is a loss of a great landmark to Barrie," Mayor Dave Aspden told the National Post.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported. Residents of apartments above the restaurant escaped unharmed, although one man said that he lost two pets in the fire, a cat and a bird.

The Salvation Army helped about 50 people forced from their homes by the fire find shelter in churches and hotels, Aspden said.

Barrie on Lake Simcoe in Ontario was a major 19th century transportation link for portage between Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron and later as a train stop. The city was also at the end of an Underground Railroad route for escaped slaves from the United States.

© 2007 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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