Fire rips through woodworking plant

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

A thick plume of smoke blanketed Ancaster and the surrounding area Tuesday morning as 60 firefighters battled a 12-hour industrial blaze in the Ancaster Business Park.

The three alarm fire broke out around 3 a. m. Tuesday morning. Hamilton fire safety officer John Verbeek said the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived. Dozens of firefighters continued to douse the blaze throughout the morning, as thick smoke billowed from the building’s roof.

A portion of roof on the north side of the building collapsed, forcing firefighters to fight the blaze from the building’s exterior.

“We decided to take a defensive stand,” said Mr. Verbeek.

Archmill House is a high end manufacturer of industrial millwork and office furniture located at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill Drives. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. No injuries were reported and no one was in the building when the fire began.

Mr. Verbeek said the building contained about 4,000 aerosol cans containing a flammable glue product.

As bad as the blaze appeared, it could have been worse. Mr. Verbeek said the building had propane tanks at the rear that were safely vented. But witnesses indicated a loud explosion, possibly a propane tank at 6:15 a. m. The building also contained flammable polyethylene mouldings, wood products and flammable liquids such as laquer and paint thinner.

Mr. Verbeek said efforts were made to contain potentially harmful douse water.

“Water is running off into a cistern and it will be vacuumed out,” he explained.

Firefighters also dispatched a foam truck from Hamilton Airport to contain the fire by mid-morning.

Hamilton fire service advised all area residents and businesses to shut windows and doors to avoid smoke inhalation.

Bill Mallett, operations manager at a nearby manufacturing facility, said morning shift workers heard the exploding propane tank at 6:15 a. m.

Workers were advised to evacuate the building, but the 5 p. m. night shift was expected to resume as usual.

Archmill House is registered with the environment ministry to handle hazardous industrial waste and liquid industrial waste.

Ministry staff were on the scene to conduct random air sampling.

The thick plume of smoke could be seen from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street, the Ancaster Village Core and throughout Hamilton Mountain.

Highways closed

Police closed several highway ramps as a precaution, but most reopened by midmorning.

Local resident Jason Cassis thought something was wrong with his house when he woke up at 4:30 p. m. to the strong smell of smoke and several loud popping sounds, presumably when the aerosol cans ignited.

“It’s a thin, narrow, really toxic smell,” said Mr. Cassis, who lives about two kilometres from the scene.

Several residents gathered to watch the fire near a police tape at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill.

Patrons from the nearby Egg and I Restaurant also gathered on a hill to watch.

Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson arrived at the scene by 9 a. m. to assess the impact.

“The firefighters have done a great job responding to it,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I’m just worried about the plume.”

Inventory concerns

Andrew Janssens, owner of anDea Chocolate at 1252 Osprey Drive was worried about his $750,000 worth of inventory.

“If there’s smoke in the building, you can write off the whole inventory,” Mr. Janssens said.

A timeline of events

3:15 a. m. Firefighters arrive at the Archmill House facility, finding a fully involved fire at the rear of the building.

4:23 a. m. The ministry of the environment’s spills action hotline is notified. Ministry officials are on the scene by 6 a. m.

4:30 a. m. Local residents report loud popping sounds, presumably the sound of exploding aerosol cans.

6:15 a. m. Workers at a nearby manufacturing facility report a loud explosion, reportedly a propane tank at the rear of the Archmill building.

8 a. m. Smoke can be seen from several kilometres away from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street.

9:30 a. m. By this time fire crews and police have advised most neighbouring businesses to evacuate. At least one neighbouring facility reopened by 5 p. m. for its evening shift.

10:30 a. m. Firefighters are getting the upper hand on the blaze as ministry of the environment staff and the fire marshal continue the investigation.

11:45 a. m. Ministry of the environment testing equipment that was delayed en route from Sarnia arrives at the scene. Canister samples are taken to a lab for testing.

2 p. m. The fire is reduced to a smoldering smoke cloud directly above the building. The smoke smell persists in the immediate area.

COMPILED BY MIKE PEARSON

Fire rips through woodworking plant

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

A thick plume of smoke blanketed Ancaster and the surrounding area Tuesday morning as 60 firefighters battled a 12-hour industrial blaze in the Ancaster Business Park.

The three alarm fire broke out around 3 a. m. Tuesday morning. Hamilton fire safety officer John Verbeek said the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived. Dozens of firefighters continued to douse the blaze throughout the morning, as thick smoke billowed from the building’s roof.

A portion of roof on the north side of the building collapsed, forcing firefighters to fight the blaze from the building’s exterior.

“We decided to take a defensive stand,” said Mr. Verbeek.

Archmill House is a high end manufacturer of industrial millwork and office furniture located at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill Drives. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. No injuries were reported and no one was in the building when the fire began.

Mr. Verbeek said the building contained about 4,000 aerosol cans containing a flammable glue product.

As bad as the blaze appeared, it could have been worse. Mr. Verbeek said the building had propane tanks at the rear that were safely vented. But witnesses indicated a loud explosion, possibly a propane tank at 6:15 a. m. The building also contained flammable polyethylene mouldings, wood products and flammable liquids such as laquer and paint thinner.

Mr. Verbeek said efforts were made to contain potentially harmful douse water.

“Water is running off into a cistern and it will be vacuumed out,” he explained.

Firefighters also dispatched a foam truck from Hamilton Airport to contain the fire by mid-morning.

Hamilton fire service advised all area residents and businesses to shut windows and doors to avoid smoke inhalation.

Bill Mallett, operations manager at a nearby manufacturing facility, said morning shift workers heard the exploding propane tank at 6:15 a. m.

Workers were advised to evacuate the building, but the 5 p. m. night shift was expected to resume as usual.

Archmill House is registered with the environment ministry to handle hazardous industrial waste and liquid industrial waste.

Ministry staff were on the scene to conduct random air sampling.

The thick plume of smoke could be seen from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street, the Ancaster Village Core and throughout Hamilton Mountain.

Highways closed

Police closed several highway ramps as a precaution, but most reopened by midmorning.

Local resident Jason Cassis thought something was wrong with his house when he woke up at 4:30 p. m. to the strong smell of smoke and several loud popping sounds, presumably when the aerosol cans ignited.

“It’s a thin, narrow, really toxic smell,” said Mr. Cassis, who lives about two kilometres from the scene.

Several residents gathered to watch the fire near a police tape at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill.

Patrons from the nearby Egg and I Restaurant also gathered on a hill to watch.

Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson arrived at the scene by 9 a. m. to assess the impact.

“The firefighters have done a great job responding to it,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I’m just worried about the plume.”

Inventory concerns

Andrew Janssens, owner of anDea Chocolate at 1252 Osprey Drive was worried about his $750,000 worth of inventory.

“If there’s smoke in the building, you can write off the whole inventory,” Mr. Janssens said.

A timeline of events

3:15 a. m. Firefighters arrive at the Archmill House facility, finding a fully involved fire at the rear of the building.

4:23 a. m. The ministry of the environment’s spills action hotline is notified. Ministry officials are on the scene by 6 a. m.

4:30 a. m. Local residents report loud popping sounds, presumably the sound of exploding aerosol cans.

6:15 a. m. Workers at a nearby manufacturing facility report a loud explosion, reportedly a propane tank at the rear of the Archmill building.

8 a. m. Smoke can be seen from several kilometres away from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street.

9:30 a. m. By this time fire crews and police have advised most neighbouring businesses to evacuate. At least one neighbouring facility reopened by 5 p. m. for its evening shift.

10:30 a. m. Firefighters are getting the upper hand on the blaze as ministry of the environment staff and the fire marshal continue the investigation.

11:45 a. m. Ministry of the environment testing equipment that was delayed en route from Sarnia arrives at the scene. Canister samples are taken to a lab for testing.

2 p. m. The fire is reduced to a smoldering smoke cloud directly above the building. The smoke smell persists in the immediate area.

COMPILED BY MIKE PEARSON

Fire rips through woodworking plant

News Aug 28, 2009 Ancaster News

A thick plume of smoke blanketed Ancaster and the surrounding area Tuesday morning as 60 firefighters battled a 12-hour industrial blaze in the Ancaster Business Park.

The three alarm fire broke out around 3 a. m. Tuesday morning. Hamilton fire safety officer John Verbeek said the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived. Dozens of firefighters continued to douse the blaze throughout the morning, as thick smoke billowed from the building’s roof.

A portion of roof on the north side of the building collapsed, forcing firefighters to fight the blaze from the building’s exterior.

“We decided to take a defensive stand,” said Mr. Verbeek.

Archmill House is a high end manufacturer of industrial millwork and office furniture located at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill Drives. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known. No injuries were reported and no one was in the building when the fire began.

Mr. Verbeek said the building contained about 4,000 aerosol cans containing a flammable glue product.

As bad as the blaze appeared, it could have been worse. Mr. Verbeek said the building had propane tanks at the rear that were safely vented. But witnesses indicated a loud explosion, possibly a propane tank at 6:15 a. m. The building also contained flammable polyethylene mouldings, wood products and flammable liquids such as laquer and paint thinner.

Mr. Verbeek said efforts were made to contain potentially harmful douse water.

“Water is running off into a cistern and it will be vacuumed out,” he explained.

Firefighters also dispatched a foam truck from Hamilton Airport to contain the fire by mid-morning.

Hamilton fire service advised all area residents and businesses to shut windows and doors to avoid smoke inhalation.

Bill Mallett, operations manager at a nearby manufacturing facility, said morning shift workers heard the exploding propane tank at 6:15 a. m.

Workers were advised to evacuate the building, but the 5 p. m. night shift was expected to resume as usual.

Archmill House is registered with the environment ministry to handle hazardous industrial waste and liquid industrial waste.

Ministry staff were on the scene to conduct random air sampling.

The thick plume of smoke could be seen from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street, the Ancaster Village Core and throughout Hamilton Mountain.

Highways closed

Police closed several highway ramps as a precaution, but most reopened by midmorning.

Local resident Jason Cassis thought something was wrong with his house when he woke up at 4:30 p. m. to the strong smell of smoke and several loud popping sounds, presumably when the aerosol cans ignited.

“It’s a thin, narrow, really toxic smell,” said Mr. Cassis, who lives about two kilometres from the scene.

Several residents gathered to watch the fire near a police tape at the corner of Osprey and Sandhill.

Patrons from the nearby Egg and I Restaurant also gathered on a hill to watch.

Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson arrived at the scene by 9 a. m. to assess the impact.

“The firefighters have done a great job responding to it,” said Mr. Ferguson. “I’m just worried about the plume.”

Inventory concerns

Andrew Janssens, owner of anDea Chocolate at 1252 Osprey Drive was worried about his $750,000 worth of inventory.

“If there’s smoke in the building, you can write off the whole inventory,” Mr. Janssens said.

A timeline of events

3:15 a. m. Firefighters arrive at the Archmill House facility, finding a fully involved fire at the rear of the building.

4:23 a. m. The ministry of the environment’s spills action hotline is notified. Ministry officials are on the scene by 6 a. m.

4:30 a. m. Local residents report loud popping sounds, presumably the sound of exploding aerosol cans.

6:15 a. m. Workers at a nearby manufacturing facility report a loud explosion, reportedly a propane tank at the rear of the Archmill building.

8 a. m. Smoke can be seen from several kilometres away from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway at Rousseaux Street.

9:30 a. m. By this time fire crews and police have advised most neighbouring businesses to evacuate. At least one neighbouring facility reopened by 5 p. m. for its evening shift.

10:30 a. m. Firefighters are getting the upper hand on the blaze as ministry of the environment staff and the fire marshal continue the investigation.

11:45 a. m. Ministry of the environment testing equipment that was delayed en route from Sarnia arrives at the scene. Canister samples are taken to a lab for testing.

2 p. m. The fire is reduced to a smoldering smoke cloud directly above the building. The smoke smell persists in the immediate area.

COMPILED BY MIKE PEARSON