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Old Posted Aug 25, 2009, 11:34 AM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Hamilton
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Fire, Explosion on Osprey

Today's Spec online edition:

Propane blasts, roof collapse in Ancaster blaze

ANCASTER – A large propane tank has exploded and collapsed part of the roof of an Ancaster woodworking plant which has been burning most of the night.

About 60 Hamilton firefighters and 18 fire vehicles have been sent to battle the three-alarm fire at Archmill House Inc., a specialty millwork manufacturing plant on Osprey Drive which makes cabinets and architectural mouldings for homes and businesses.

The fire has forced the closure of a number of businesses the Ancaster industrial park off Wilson Street at Tradewinds Drive as emergency crews have closed access roads.

The blaze was discovered by police sent to check on an alarm at the building at 3 a.m.

Fire department spokesman John Verbeek said one of three large propane tanks at the rear of the 35,000-square-foot main building exploded at 6:15 a.m. after firefighters had moved back out of the building into defensive positions.

“When the crews got there, they found 20-foot flames where plywood is stored on open racks in the centre area,” he said.

“The fire began spreading rapidly across the roof and the district chief ordered evacuation as it was no longer safe there.”

Verbeek said the wood products and lumber stocks in the building are burning fiercely, but flames have not reached flammable liquids used in manufacturing because they are stored in a separate room off the main building which is protected by a heavy fire door.

Verbeek said firefighters had difficulty attacking the fire with Aerial trucks because it is not safe to move the rigs between the blazing structure and businesses beside it.

But the heavy rigs can not cross the rough ground and wet area behind Archmill.

So, a 4x4 vehicle equipped with a water gun used to fight brush fires has been brought in to come in behind the plant from Comorant Drive

Wind conditions are light and most of the pall of heavy black smoke from the fire is rising straight into the sky. Verbeek said there was smoke drifting over towards the Rymal Road and Fiddlers Green area so police officers were sent there to advise residents of the fire. There was no evacuation order for that area, though neighbours were told to close windows.

Businesses located on either side of the blazing plant have not been damaged, but hydro has been cut off in the neighbourhood.

Hamilton police have been sent into the area to control bystanders who can’t resist slipping between the industrial buildings for a closer look

Police and fire crews reported several explosions in the building just after they arrived. It is believed these were caused by aerosol materials used in the manufacturing process which detonated.

Archmill added a major extension to the plant several years ago.

No one was working in the building when the blaze was discovered.

By 5 a.m. the fire was burning fiercely with fire crews setting up fixed water cannons around the building. they have also asked the city to boost water pressure to mains in the area surrounding the fire.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has been called.

Osprey Drive is located in an industrial area off Wilson Street East in Ancaster, west of Duff’s corners at Garner Road and Wilson Street
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