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Big Bay Point blaze

A home on Big Bay Point Road was destroyed by fire Monday morning. PHOTO: KEVIN LAMB

A home on Big Bay Point Road was destroyed by fire Monday morning. PHOTO: KEVIN LAMB

INNISFIL – Residents are being reminded to be careful how they dispose of fireplace ashes following a house fire in Innisfil, Monday.

 

More than two dozen Innisfil firefighters were called to a Big Bay Point Road house fire Monday morning.

There were no injuries, but damage to the two-storey bungalow, located at 1870 Big Bay Point Rd., was estimated to be approximately $700,000.

“It will end up being a total loss,” said Innisfil Fire Chief Jon Pegg, adding the fire is not considered suspicious and smoke alarms were functioning.

He said an initial investigation indicates the residents had recently emptied their fireplace and put some ashes on the back deck.

“They weren’t totally cooled off and sparks climbed through the back deck and into the roof,” he said. “As we are entering the winter season, we need to remind everybody to remove the ashes and get them into a steel container away from anything combustible.

“Although we may think they are cool, it takes just a little bit of wind to get them going.”

Volunteer crews as well as full-time firefighters responded.

“Ironically enough, we had eight new full-time firefighters start this morning on their very first day so they were on scene as well,” Pegg said.

The Innisfil fire department has approximately 96 volunteers across the four stations – located in Lefroy, Cookstown, Alcona and Stroud – and 28 fulltime firefighters.

A call about the blaze came into the department shortly before 10 a.m.

“The homeowner inside didn’t know the house was on fire; somebody alerted him from the outside,” Pegg said. “When it gets up into the roof and permeates the drywall, it can burn up there for hours before anybody really knows about it.

“It was definitely a strange fire and one that was very dangerous,” he added. “Anytime a fire gets right into the attic and the roof, it’s a very difficult fire to fight.”

That makes it particularly dangerous for firefighters because the roof construction can come down at any time, Pegg said.

“We can’t send firefighters in like we normally would so we have to fight that fire from the outside,” he said. “On top of that, the wind conditions today really got the fire going once it got through the roof so it was spreading really fast.”

The department’s aerial truck was vital to fighting the blaze, although it wasn’t used to dispense water.

“We didn’t end up doing that today, but what it did help us with was a vantage point,” Pegg said. “So we were able to send a firefighter to the tip of the ladder and he could see exactly where the fire was on the roof. Then he could guide firefighters from the ground.”

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management was contacted because the damage estimate was more than $500,000.

“We called them, but they are satisfied with our investigation and won’t be attending,” Pegg said, adding the house is inhabitable.

Fire crews were to monitor the scene Monday evening.

imcinroy@postmedia.com