Million dollar fire sparks concern about old insulation

Fire investigators are hoping Wednesday’s $1 million house fire will serve as a warning for homeowners.

The blaze broke out in the attic of 351 Foxdale Avenue, in the River East area of North Kildonan, around 3 pm after a worker reportedly cut through a joint and hit a nail.

Fire officials have not confirmed the exact cause but told Global News the home had 40 year old cellulose insulation in the attic.

The insulation fueled the flames and within two minutes the entire attic was engulfed.

“This is a huge problem we are seeing throughout the city,” said Peter Apsit, Fire Investigator.

Cellulose resembles finely shredded newspaper with a fire resistant spray on it.

“The spray wears off and what was left in this house was extremely flammable material,” he said.

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Apsit says homeowners who know they have old cellulose  in their attics should have a hard-wired smoke alarm installed in the attic to give early warning of fire up there.

Firefighter at 351 Foxdale Ave. in Winnipeg on June 5, 2013. Randall Paull

He tells Global News his crew found a few feet of dried insulation from the Foxdale Ave. attic which they laid out on the ground to show the homeowners.

“The entire piece lit up within 15 seconds,” said Apsit.

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