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Cause of St. Catharines greenhouse fire will remain ‘undetermined’: fire marshal

Fire crews responded to a major fire at Pioneer Flower Farms in St. Catherines Friday night.
Fire crews responded to a major fire at Pioneer Flower Farms in St. Catherines Friday night. Joseph Burd / Global News

St. Catherines’ acting fire chief says there will be no investigation into the cause of a large greenhouse fire at Pioneer Flower Farms due to ‘extensive damage.’

Jeff McCormick revealed in a media release on Tuesday that the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office will not be conducting a probe because of the “extensive damage to the 700,000-square-foot structure.”

“Due to numerous factors including the size and scope of the fire, the length of time the fire burned and the extensive overhaul operations that were necessary to ensure final extinguishment, there is no reasonable expectation that they would be able to determine the cause and origin,” said McCormick.

That means the cause of the fire will be left “undetermined,” according to the chief.

READ MORE: St. Catharines rallies behind family farm and migrant workers following devastating fire

No major injuries were reported in the massive blaze that forced Niagara police to alert nearby residents to avoid the outdoors on Saturday due to thick smoke.

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Firefighters from St. Catharines, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, and Lincoln battled the fire after receiving a call around 11 p.m. Friday night to Pioneer Flower Farms just off of Seventh Street and Highway 77.

McCormick said more than 27 vehicles and 100 firefighters were a part of the effort, with the fire finally doused at about 4 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

The fire originally started in one of the greenhouses on the east side of the site, eventually spreading across the grass and into a bush that caused a significant bush fire.

WATCH: St. Catharines rallies behind migrant workers displaced by fire

St. Catharines rallies behind migrant workers displaced by fire
St. Catharines rallies behind migrant workers displaced by fire

Additionally, the blaze consumed a number of migrant workers’ residential buildings. No injuries were reported.

About 45 migrant workers from Mexico lost everything in the fire. Community members rallied together, collecting clothing, food and cash donations as the employees were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Pioneer Flower Farms is family operated and according to its website, is one of the largest bulb forcing farms in North America.

— With files from Morganne Campbell