Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Fire investigators were sifting through tons of wreckage from an industrial blaze Thursday looking for clues.

Fire marshall Wes Van Bavel said a pair of Red Deer Emergency Services fire investigators will be working alongside an insurance investigator to probe the fire that destroyed a building owned by Red Deer Ironworks Inc., which manufactures oil and gas industry equipment.

“We’re ultimately working towards the same goal, the cause and origin of this fire, so we combine our resources and talents to try to figure that out,” said Van Bavel.

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Fire rips through Red Deer industrial building

The fire that started around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Red Deer’s north end gutted the 20,000-square-foot buiding on Golden West Avenue, just south of 67th Street.

All of the employees got out of the building safely before fire ripped through, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the area and into neighbouring Oriole Park.

A full damage estimate is not available, but the fire department is pegging the value of the building alone at $2 million or more.

Van Bavel said they will bring in heavy equipment to move some of the debris, which will be combed through for clues. Fire investigators typically narrow down where to look for evidence of the cause from interviews and other preliminary work.

“You kind of cordon it off into a grid, then systematically work through it for cause and origin.”

Company president Ed Delaronde said on Thursday “as of right now, we are diligently putting the operation back together, working with the fire investigation team to determine the exact cause of the fire.

“Coinciding this, we have already made arrangements to continue business on the site with minimal interruption, as we only lost one of our three buildings.

“We will have everything back together no later than end of next week.”

Delaronde said he was proud of his staff and firefighters, finishing his email with the message: “RDI – Strong and Proud!”

Meanwhile, firefighters headed to Oriole Park homes near Wednesday’s fire to answer any questions residents had.

The visits are part of the After the Fire Program, which sees fire officials head out to neighbourhoods where there has been a fire to check in on residents and use it as an educational opportunity.

About 80 homes on O’Brien Crescent and O’Neil Close were evacuated when thick, black smoke was blown into the residential area. Residents were given the all-clear about 3 p.m.



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