For Immediate Release - May 29, 2009
BURLINGTON, ON. – The cause of the fire that started in the afternoon of Monday May 25, 2009 at 4161 Morris Drive remains undetermined. The extensive damage to the contents and structure prevented staff from locating evidence that could confirm a definitive cause.
Eyewitness accounts from workers in the building at the time the fire started confirmed they first noticed flames in a pile of rolled landscaping erosion prevention material. This material is rolled blankets of straw and other natural material which is used to cover soil that has recently been seeded and allows the soil to remain in place until growth occurs. Workers tried to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful against the rapid spreading fire consuming the highly combustible rolls. The fire was also fueled by other materials including polypropylene landscape fabric rolls and pond liners.
Due to the large dollar value of the loss the Office of the Fire Marshal was contacted and advised of the fire however they did not attend the scene as part of the investigation. There are several potential causes including spontaneous combustion of the natural materials used in the erosion blankets or an electrical failure near the pile that may have caused the material to ignite, however these and other potential causes could not be confirmed.
A 911 call was received from staff working in the building just after 3 p.m. reporting the fire. When crews were approaching the area and when they arrived they were confronted with heavy smoke and flames showing from the building and extending through the roof.
Officials from the Ministry of the Environment, Regional Spills Response, City of Burlington Roads and Parks Maintenance and the Regional Health Department worked with fire officials at the scene to monitor smoke migration and water runoff from the fire. An evacuation of some businesses in the immediate area of the fire was initiated as a precaution during the extinguishment of the blaze.
Fortunately there were no reports of injuries to workers at the scene or emergency personnel.
An initial estimate of damage has also been revised and increased $1.2 million to the contents and structure.
Fire Prevention Officer