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Cause deemed undetermined in blaze at vacant Richmond Street home: London fire officials

Crews were called to the scene at 1240 Richmond St., north of Raymond Avenue, just before 6 a.m. on July 13.
Crews were called to the scene at 1240 Richmond St., north of Raymond Avenue, just before 6 a.m. on July 13. London Fire Department via Twitter

London fire officials say the cause of a fire earlier this week at a vacant three-storey home on Richmond Street has been deemed undetermined as a result of the property, which has since been partially demolished, being too dangerous and damaged for investigators to enter.

Crews responded to the scene at 1240 Richmond St., just north of Raymond Avenue and the Western University Gates, around 6 a.m. Monday.

Read more: Cause, damage estimate unknown in fire at vacant Richmond Street home, London fire officials say

They were met with heavy fire and smoke coming from the third floor of the vacant building.

Some 25 firefighters responded to the address to help tackle the blaze, which took about an hour and a half to get largely under control.

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Speaking with 980 CFPL on Monday, Platoon Chief Gary Mosburger said the building had suffered extensive fire and water damage, resulting in weakened floors and other sections of the structure that could be prone to collapse.

An excavator was later brought in to get at what crews believed was a smouldering fire within the home, he said. Video posted by fire officials Monday night shows the machine knocking away part of the rear of the home, causing a large portion of the roof to collapse to the ground.

“The fire… will be deemed as undetermined as a result of just heavy fire involvement,” Mosburger said Wednesday.

There’s been more than one fire at that location. To pinpoint down an exact cause would involve being able to actually access the fire origin area, which just wasn’t possible in this situation.”

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Mosburger said the fire marshal’s office and London police arson investigators weren’t interested in moving forward in launching a probe into the incident.

Read more: July 9 — Early morning fire causes about $250K in damage for small businesses

The property has since been turned over to the owner, who is working with the city to obtain demolition permits, he said.

Damage from the fire is estimated at between $500,000 and $700,000 in relation to how much it would cost to return the structure to its pre-fire state, according to Mosburger.

The property is among at least six on the eastern side of Richmond Street, north of Raymond, that have sat vacant for several years as a result of a stalled plan involving a GTA-based developer to build a high-rise on the site.