By Alisa Howlett 
BELLEVILLE – A fire in Quinte West not only destroyed a public works building, but over $5 million of equipment inside.
The Quinte West fire department got the call just after 2 a.m. Monday. A neighbour of the building on 96 Wolfe St. in Frankford noticed the fire while he was taking his dog out, fire chief John Whalen said.
Five large snowplows, a street cleaner, a backhoe and a pickup truck were in the building. Four vehicles in the parking lot were also damaged from the heat, Whalen said.
Chris Angelo, the director of public works in Quinte West, said replacing the equipment is a priority.
“We need to have it replaced as soon as possible,” he said.
Sub-contractors and other municipalities have offered to help with snow removal in the case of a snowfall. Angelo said he is thankful the snow has stopped.
“From all indications the weather seems to be turning towards spring – keeping our fingers crossed, that’s certainly going to help in our favour”
Angelo added that if more snow falls some local streets and back streets may take longer to be cleared because the trucks will be coming from other yards not as close.
He hopes to have the equipment replaced in eight to nine months, he said. The replacement costs will come from insurance funds.
Another priority is relocating staff, Angelo said.
In December, city council approved a plan to amalgamate the eight public works buildings in the area. The new site will be the North Marine Industrial Park, but the building won’t be in place until fall 2015. Until then, staff will be relocated to the other yards, he said.
Two stations worked to put out the fire. No one was injured. The cause of the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious, but the fire marshal is investigating, Whalen said.