Canadian Firefighters Fight Major St Catharines Fire

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Firefighters battled for several hours heavy smoke and flames in a commercial structure located at 11 Cushman Road in the sixth largest city of Canada’s Niagara Region on Friday night into Saturday morning early hours.

CAUSE

The cause is unknown at this time.  Fire investigators were called during the incident to respond to the scene.  A preliminary determination as not been released as of this post.

RESOURCES

Pumpers 1, 2, 3, 4 ,6; Ladders 2, 4, 5. Car 3. Safety Officer. Air Units.

OPERATIONS

Incident Timer | 40 minutes

Firefighters had reported about five minutes earlier, that they were using Blitzfire (deck guns from research) on the Bravo side. There was no visible fire on the exterior and the black smoke was decreasting.  A knockdown of fire in the main area and water on the hot spots was in progress.

Fire Weather Temps:  30F but feels like 19F

However, one minute later, Command reported that the color of the smoke was changing and escaping where the cinder block meets the metal of the building structure.  Command then reported they were in defensive operations, applying water and reporting heavy smoke conditions.

Evacuations were completed for the structure north of the fire building. A heat signature was reported by fire crews on the Delta side.  On the Bravo side, there was zero visibility. Fire heading towards a fire break on Cushman Road and would eventually penetrate the cinder block and tresses on the Bravo side.  A collapse zone for firefighters was immediately established.

Incident Timer | 50 minutes

 Command reported same fire conditions and four ladders, as well as a second water supply as needed immediately.  The water supply group asked Dispatch where the two nearest hydrants were located, which were determined to be at 6 Cushman Road and on Skyway.

A short time thereafter, instead of four ladders, five were requested by Command. Fire had breached the wall on the Bravo side.  Water was on the fire at the time.

Incident Timer | 60 minutes

Visible flames were reported to Command that were burning over the door on building one (we believe to be an exposure building) on the Bravo side.   Command indicated to Dispatch, they were still in defensive operations, heavy smoke and flames and were looking for the four ladders.

Dispatch indicated they were still waiting for another person so that all four of them could be en route together.  Command asked the Safety Officer to ensure there was enough room to enable the four ladders to enter the area and immediately set-up aerial/masterstream operations.

Finally, an additional person showed up and the four ladders were now en route as they were fully manned.  However, they were still waiting for a runner for refilling of their air bottles.

Request for salt via City Yards was requested.

Incident Timer | 80 minutes

Fire appeared to be cooling on the Alpha side but the interior fire on the Delta side had crossed over and was heading past areas where fire breaks were thought to be but were not.

Fire Weather:  Humdity at 59% 

Black smoke was still being reported.  Ladder 4’s crew found a pocket of heavy fire they were working on.   A runner finally was located and en route to the fire ground.

Incident Timer | 90 minutes

Same fire conditions were reported. The gas company was having difficulties shutting off the gas and were working on securing it in the roadway.

Traffic cams were reporting a major fire that had broken out at the base of St. Catharines Skyway Bridge on Cushman Road.  Drivers were reportedly stopping ont the Skyway causing traffic delays.

Incident Timer | 110 minutes

HYDRO had arrived on-scene quickly and secured the power.  The incident timer was switched over to every 20 minutes.

They were still in defensive operations, making good progress and dumping large amounts of water on the fire building.

Firefighters were sent to REHAB and told to take a rest.

Fire had breached the roof and it was reported temps in the Delta wall had reached 103*C  or 217*F.  Car 3 had arrived on-scene.  Finally, gas was secured at the fire building. Service Truck 6  (air unit) had also arrived on-scene.

Incident Timber | 130 minutes

Firefighters were still in defensive operations, making headway and had a heavy water flow.

While a ladder company was implementing masterstream operations, they blew a hole in one of the fire building’s walls, deeming it to be too unsafe to send in firefighters inside. Everyone was ordered to stay away from that area.

Incident Timer  | 170 minutes

 The timer was switched to every 30 minutes via request from Cushman Command. Same reported fire conditions. Most of the fire was knocked down.

Incident Timer | 200 minutes

Light smoke. Operations shut down for 10 minutes. Everyone is taking a break.

Incident Timer | 230 minutes

Defensive operations. Checking for hot spots and in overhaul.  Shortly after this report by Command, fire operations had ceased.  No primary or secondary searches would be conducted.

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(c) 2020 NW Fire Blog  | 2-21-2020 | 2345 hours PST / 0245 EST