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Sauna heater culprit in fire at Charlottetown Mall: fire inspector

City firefighters respond to a blaze inside the Charlottetown Mall on Sunday.
City firefighters respond to a blaze inside the Charlottetown Mall on Sunday. - Mitch MacDonald

The improper installation of a heater sparked a fire in a sauna that led to the evacuation of the Charlottetown Mall, says the city’s fire marshal.

Winston Bryan says a blaze originated in the women’s sauna of the Spa Total Fitness Centre Sunday afternoon.

“The smoke was very, very heavy — a tremendous amount of smoke," he notes. “It made it difficult to find the scene of the fire."

Bryan says once located, the fire was quickly extinguished. However, ventilating the building took four to five hours.

He estimates about three quarters of the spa area suffered smoke and water damage, including the West Royalty Child Care Centre.

Bryan says there were no injuries.

The spa owner declined comment Tuesday.

The Charlottetown Fire Department responded to a call shortly after 3 p.m.

The entire mall was evacuated, including the Cineplex Cinemas located in the mall. The cinema was later given the green light to re-open Sunday evening.

In a separate fire in the city over the long weekend, a heat buildup of rags in a large wooden box has been determined as the cause of a fire at Sterns Laundry Sunday night.

Bryan says a pedestrian walking by the building around 11 p.m., where no one was working at the time, spotted the fire and called it in.

“The flames were quite visible," he says. “Very, very fortunate that person saw it."

Bryan says the fire was contained to the box but smoke damage left a hefty cleaning job.

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