Blaze officially extinguished Wednesday
© Eric Sparling - Amherst Daily News
The Amherst Fire Department will begin its investigation Thursday into the cause of a major fire downtown earlier this week.
AMHERST – Now that a massive downtown fire has been extinguished, investigators from the Amherst Fire Department will begin sifting through the debris today trying to determine a cause.
“The scene is still secured and is being watched and there is a safety plan in place,” Chief Bill Crossman said. “We will begin our investigation of the cause on Thursday.”
The provincial fire marshal’s office will assist in the investigation.
Crossman said firefighters left the scene of the blaze at 8 p.m. Tuesday, but had to return early Wednesday morning after another fire “with considerable smoke” broke out under the debris.
“We started with the water again and began separating material to get at the fire and it was 10 a.m. before we declared the fire out,” Crossman said.
There have been no flareups since.
Crossman said excess material not involved in the investigation is being removed from the property.
“We know the area of origin, so that’s where we will be concentrating our investigation. That’s not the area we’re removing,” the chief said.
The chief said the investigation will begin in the basement area, where fire officials believe the fire started. He said there is no indication the fire was suspicious.
Firefighters were called to the century-old buildings just after 10 p.m. Sunday. All residents and the lounge were evacuated as smoke began filling the Windsor Block.
Flames gutted the building overnight and it was demolished on Monday. The adjoining Black Block was also destroyed by the fire, while the neighbouring police department suffered smoke and water damage and another building – housing a law office and early intervention – was extensively damaged when struck by a section of wall from the Windsor Block.