LETHBRIDGE: The fire that destroyed two two-storey homes on the corner of Canyonview Place West on
Sunday afternoon, was likely caused by spontaneous ignition.
The fire started about 12:39 and consumed most of the two homes, resulting in more than $1-million in damage. Three-fire stations and 20-men were called to the
scene but, when they arrived, the wind had already sent flames into another
home. At that point, firefighters were only able to take a defensive stance and
contain the blaze.
Fire Investigator Heath Wright says rags were used to
soak up excess oil as a fence was being stained and disposed of in a garbage can
which contained combustible material. The container allowed heat to build up and
created the combustible situation.
Wright explained, "Witness statements provided information as to what was
being done outside of one of the homes before the fire - an organic based
staining material was being used". "It was on the west side of the building and
from all indications, from pictures and witness statements, it appears that the
fire originated on the west side and exterior portion of one building."
Wright confirms this type of fire has occurred in the city on previous
occasions. He asks home owners to be careful about how fire prone material is
disposed of, "A lot of these products, if they are organic, they have on their
(containers) MSDS as well as a warning label right on the can itself, of how to
dispose of it".
Wright also said, "From a Fire Department Prevention point of view, we'd like
you to dispose of these materials in a non-combustible can or container with a
non-combustible lid, so that if it does ignite, it won't re-ignite because it
will have no oxygen to help feed it. Or, they can also use a non-combustible
container with water it in, and submerge it (rags) in water".
Wright noted that the two homes destroyed were built to code, in terms of
space between them. He says it was just unfortunate that the fire was between
two homes, "The way the wind was blowing it created a swirling effect and
between radiated heat from the flames where it impinged on the fence, as well as
the swirling wind, it just impinged on the east side, even though it was a
No residents were home at the time of the fire and no injuries are reported.
At the scene on Sunday, Platoon Chief Greg Kveder said that neighbours were able
to enter one home's garage and push three vehicles onto the driveway. The quick
action saved the vehicles.