The stubborn third-alarm fire, which started just prior to midnight, at Hamilton East Auto Parts, at 135 Princess Street just north of Barton and Sherman, required over 60 fire fighters at its peak to battle.The intensity of the fire was such that numerous fire trucks suffered heat damage with plastic parts – such as lights and covers – melting from the intense heat.
A few firefighters were treated for heat exposure by paramedics, all treated were able to return to fighting the fire.
The fire was seen – and heard – across the city with numerous flare-ups, explosives, and heavy smoke that was smelled as far away as Upper James and Rymal on Hamilton’s South Mountain. Residents on the East Mountain reporting the initial explosions.Fire crews fought to contain the fire from spreading to other businesses in attached units, cutting down trees as they aggressively rushed to remove paths for it to spread.
There were able to contain the fire to the original building – which being massive and filled with combustible materials gave the fire fuel to rag for hours.
Nearby residents were excavated from their homes, and the Ministry of Environment was called. Residents were able to return to their homes after two hours, and the Fire Department stated there were no unusual concerns about the smoke cloud from the fire.
Fire crews remain on scene this morning putting out hot spots. No damage estimate has been released, and the fire did not spread to other businesses.
Hamilton’s Lucky with Weather
This is the second major industrial fire in Hamilton in the past two years that could’ve been much worst except for the weather conditions. Both this fire – and the massive Dundas industrial fire in November 2012 – occurred last in the evening on clear weather nights with non-existent winds conditions.Had either fire occurred during weather conditions with any wind, they would prompted large evacuation areas, likely would spread to neighbouring structures, and would’ve been much more difficult for fire crews to extinguish.
Shout out to 541 Barton
A shout to 541 Eatery & Exchange, the new cafe/diner on Barton Street between Birch and Sanford. They offered to open last night for displaced residents. Ultimately, Hamilton Emergency Services Command was able to quickly let most residents back into their homes and 541Barton did not need to open.
Nonetheless, they were ready to fill a major void in the City’s emergency planning – temporary locations for displaced residents during major emergencies and fires.
Investigation Underway, Political Impact
The investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.
There could be a political impact. Two residents spoke to me last night stating they do not want more industrial properties near their homes, saying they do not want the proposed waste gasification plant.