Bres­lau home un­der con­struc­tion ex­plodes

Wool­wich Fire Dept. deems cause to be “un­de­ter­mined”

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

STILL UN­DER CON­STRUC­TION, A Bres­lau house was re­duced to rub­ble last week in a fire that caused dam­ages pegged at $1 mil­lion.

The struc­ture on Wool­wich Street South was still be­ing built and un­oc­cu­pied at the time of the fire, which broke out in the early morn­ing hours of No­vem­ber 23. No in­juries were re­ported, though a neigh­bour­ing home was dam­aged to the tune of $50,000 by the heat from the blaze.

The cause of the fire was deemed “un­de­ter­mined,” though Wool­wich of­fi­cials ruled out any crim­i­nal­ity.

“It was around 3:30 (a.m.), and both my wife and I just woke up with a start,” said next door neigh­bour Dan Bat­tler, whose home was dam­aged by the heat. “It shook our house. It was a big ex­plo­sion in the garage, I guess – I think that’s what hap­pened. It woke us up, and we went run­ning around our house to see what hap­pened first. Then she looked out the win­dow and saw the flames, so we phoned 911 right away.”

Wool­wich fire­fight­ers spent the early hours com­bat­ing blaze, and by late morn­ing were go­ing through the rub­ble of the burnt-out struc­ture.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion failed to iden­tify the cause of the fire due to the ex­tent of the dam­age, said Wool­wich fire chief Dale Martin. A re­quest for as­sis­tance was made to the Of­fice of the Fire Mar­shal, but the pro­vin­cial body de­clined to take part in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“So what we did, we sent them pic­tures and they re­viewed the pic­tures and de­clined to at­tend,” said Martin. “They said be­cause of the dam­age, they prob­a­bly couldn’t de­ter­mine the cause any­ways – they never did show up. So we just went with our in­ves­ti­ga­tion, that it was ‘un­de­ter­mined,’ the cause.”

The in­con­clu­sive re­sults of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion were

cor­rob­o­rated by Wa­ter­loo Re­gional Po­lice at the scene.

“They were there too, and they had agreed with our find­ings at that time,” said Martin, adding that crim­i­nal be­hav­iour was not sus­pected. “From what we know, from all the in­ter­views we did, we didn’t find it to be of sus­pi­cious na­ture.”

The house, which was un­der con­struc­tion and un­oc­cu­pied at the time of the fire, was on Wool­wich Street South, be­tween Shields and Ber­lin streets.

“It was to­tally un­der con­struc­tion, so no­body in the house, no hy­dro to the house,” he added. The home had no fur­ni­ture ei­ther, lim­it­ing the dam­age to just the struc­ture.

Upon ar­riv­ing at the scene, fire­fight­ers fo­cused their ef­forts on pre­vent­ing the flames from spread­ing to neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties. The fire warped the sid­ing on Bat­tlers’ house and shat­tered win­dows fac­ing the burn­ing build­ing, but the home was other­wise left rel­a­tively un­scathed.

“When we got here, [the fire] was out through the roof al­ready. The whole place was full of fire,” said Martin of the de­stroyed build­ing. “There was noth­ing left to save.”

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

Still be­ing built and yet to be oc­cu­pied, a Bres­lau sin­gle-fam­ily house was com­pletely lev­eled by fire Nov. 23. The cause of the fire is “un­de­ter­mined.”

[FAISAL ALI / THE OB­SERVER]

The burnt-out re­mains of the struc­ture were still at risk of col­lapse, said Wool­wich fire chief Dale Martin, and would have to be knocked down.

Most of the dam­age was con­tained to the site, though a neigh­bour­ing prop­erty was also dam­aged from the re­sult­ing heat.

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