London fire officials say no one was harmed after a fire tore through a barn on the southern edge of the city Thursday night, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Fire crews responded to the scene on Westminster Drive around 10 p.m. for reports of a fully involved structure fire, and at the scene were met with a barn that was starting to collapse in on itself, said Kirk Loveland, platoon chief with the London Fire Department.
“They set up a relay system to supply water and they were able to protect the exposures and any other things around the barn that needed protecting from the fire, stopping it from extending into those buildings and fuel tanks, et cetera,” he said.
With no hydrants around, crews had to bring in tankers of water to fight the blaze, Loveland said. The barn ended up being a total loss, with damage estimated at $750,000.
“There were no animals in the barn, so thankfully no animals were lost and there were no injuries,” he said.
“They were preparing to bring in some animals, they were preparing the barn. I understand they were supposed to come later this week. Thankfully, they weren’t there yet.”
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but given the extent and scope of the damage, Loveland says it will be difficult to determine the fire’s origins.
The barn fire came amid a busy night for first responders as a result of heavy rains that drenched southwestern Ontario.
According to Environment Canada, roughly 120 millimetres of rain fell at London’s airport between 8 a.m. Tuesday and 8 a.m. Thursday. Roughly half of that fell just over the course of the day Wednesday.
“(Wednesday) night was very, very busy, so it hampered us, the fact that we had so many incidents occurring in the city,” Loveland said.
“That it took crews responding from different areas, because other crews were tied up dealing with other issues … plus it’s harder to work in the rain, just because things become slippery and wet.”
The heavy rains resulted in flooding throughout the London region, prompting a state of emergency declaration by Middlesex County officials.
–with files from Jess Brady