Firefighters battling major blaze in St. Catharines

Firefighters are battling a blaze at Pioneer Flower Farms Limited in St. Catharines. Photo by Joseph Burd

Firefighters in St. Catharines are currently involved in battling a major fire at Pioneer Flower Farms Limited which broke out late Friday night, Aug. 16/2019.

According to one unidentified worker at the scene, the fire is believed to have started in the mechanical room. The loss will be well over 50 million dollars.

Warnings have gone out through various social media outlets this morning.

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik posted on his Twitter account at approximately 9:15 a.m.: “As you wake up this Saturday morning, fire crews are on the scene in the west end on Seventh St. Shelter in place order in effect for some parts of the West end. Follow @St_Catharines. For updates. You can also take a minute and download the Ping St. App for updates to your phone”

Stephanie Sabourin from the Niagara Regional Police Service posted the following information about 8 a.m.: “Crews remain in the area adjusting response as required with changing factors. Smoke now blowing in an NW direction, changing areas of residents are asked to shelter in place. Areas of: Seventh St Louth, Gregory Rd, 2nd Avenue Louth, 3rd Avenue Louth, Glass Ave, 11th St.”

She also posted that the Ministry of the Environment is now on scene to monitor the air quality.

The City of St. Catharines is asking that the public stay away from the area “as tanker trucks need clear access routes to supply water to the scene.”

Mutual aid has been called in from other departments supplying tanker trucks and an aerial pumper to help extinguish the fire.

A press release from the City of St. Catharines said: “The fire originally started in one of the greenhouses, which collapsed and fell into the fire route hampering the efforts of fire crews to get access to the fire. As there are no municipal fire hydrants in the area, tankers needed to be called to scene from other area fire departments. The fire then spread across the grass and into a bush that caused a significant bush fire.”

“Additionally, fire spread to a number of migrant workers’ residential buildings, which subsequently have been consumed by the fire. No injuries have been reported,” the release said.

The release also said that the Ontario Fire Marshal is at the location and is going to deploy a drone to provide an aerial view of the fire to fire personnel.

“The acting fire chief expects fire crews will remain on scene for a significant period of time,” the release said.

There are more than 27 vehicles and over 100 firefighters involved in battling the blaze.