A Red Deer window business was heavily damaged by smoke and soot after a fire broke out early Thursday morning.
Just after midnight, Red Deer Emergency Services received a call reporting a fire at Window Masters Inc. Window and Door Replacement located at Bay 160, 6040 47 Ave.
An alarm company notified the building owner who then called 911.
Fire-medics arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the overhead door. The fire was put out shortly after crews arrived. The fire is suspected to be accidental with damage estimated at more than $100,000.
Fire prevention officer Wes Van Bavel said about $5,000 of that involved damage from flames.
The rest of the damage was due to smoke and soot.
“The security alarm went off and notified the owner, which really saved his business,” said Van Bavel. “If it wasn’t for the alarm system, we might have lost more than one business down there by the time somebody would have noticed.”
Van Bavel said the suspected cause is believed to have been flammable products that were used within the business.
“It was like a solvent based primer or sealer and they were using sponges to wipe down some wood and so some staining,” said Van Bavel. “They put these rags and sponges in a plastic garbage can.”
The paint on those rags is releasing energy and once it gets hot enough internally, a fire erupts. Staff left at about 9 p.m. and about three hours later, the blaze occurred, which is about the right time for this process to occur, Van Bavel said.
It’s spontaneous combustion, he said.
Van Bavel said he can think of a number of similar incidents at businesses, even schools, where this has occurred.
“The energy generated in those piles of rags is greater than the energy lost from those piles,” he said.
The building can be restored, Van Bavel said.
“The drywall saved his business too. Where the fire originated underneath the stairs, the drywall held that fire back,” Van Bavel said.