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'Fuel tanks were a worry': Central Elgin Fire fights 10-hour hay barn blaze

Central Elgin volunteer firefighters pulled an “all-nighter” to battle a hay barn fire on Southdale Line just a few hundred metres outside the city limits of St. Thomas, Ont.

A barn belonging to farmer and Central Elgin Coun. Norm Watson went up in flames around 11 p.m. Sunday night.

“We have fuel tanks in front, and the shop and the back of the building was fully involved,” said Murray Decorte, Yarmouth district chief of the Central Elgin Fire Department.Fire crews from Central Elgin, Southwold and Malahide help shuttle water to fight a barn fire on South Southdale Line just outside St. Thomas, Ont. on Sunday, Aug 13, 2023. (Source: Brent Lale/CTV News London)

Decorte spoke to CTV News London on scene within an hour of the hay igniting.

“There was a bunch of machinery around and we needed to get that all that out of the way and moved, and the farmer was able to get that all out of the way and moved,” said Decorte. “We were able to hit them with water and got that all calmed down, so that isn’t a worry. It’s just a matter of getting the hay put out on the fire backside and the machinery inside.”

Six tanker trucks were shuttling water from just one kilometre away on Centennial Ave.

“The majority of them pulled an all-nighter and we had a number of people that left between five and seven in the morning because they had to go to work,” said Ray Ormerod, Central Elgin fire chief.

“I would like to thank the fire fighters from Central Elgin, Southwold and Malahide who responded,” said Watson. "Thankfully no one was injured, and the barn can be replaced.”Central Elgin Fire crews spray water on a barn fire on Southdale Line just outside St. Thomas, Ont. on Sunday Aug 13, 2023. (Source: Brent Lale/CTV London)

Central Elgin had closed Southdale Line between Centennial Avenue and Yarmouth Centre Road, but it was reopened Monday morning.

“I think we got called just shortly around 11 o'clock last night, and it's now quarter-to-10 in the morning and we're just finally wrapping up,” said Ormerod.

He added, “It took a while as we had to bring a an excavator in to pull the hay away from the barn and then make sure all the hay was extinguished, just to ensure there was no rekindle.” Top Stories


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