Cause of fire announced

TORONTO – The office of the Fire Marshal has completed its investigation into a fire that claimed the lives of two Listowel fire fighterss on March 17.

Investigators said the fire that occurred in a commercial building at 245 Main Street West in Listowel was determined to have been caused by the use of a propane-fuelled torch during roof repairs. Prior to the fire, workers were repairing a leak in the roof of the building. During repairs, a fire started in the space between the roof and the suspended ceiling. The fire burned undetected for a substantial amount of time.

Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek said when fire crews arrived, there were no signs of smoke or fire inside the building. While they were inside the building, attempting to locate and extinguish the fire, conditions changed rapidly and within seconds the roof collapsed.

The collapse trapped the two firefighters. Although immediate rescue efforts were made by fire crews, extreme fire and smoke conditions made rescue impossible.

Deputy District Chief Ken Rae and firefighter Raymond Walter were killed.