From the Toronto Star

A five-alarm blaze at the Ashbridges Bay sewage treatment plant on the Lakeshore Blvd. E happened around 11:42 p.m. It is not known how many people were in the plant at the time of the blaze but everyone was evacuated safely. The fire burned throughout the night until around 5 a.m. when firefighters were able to get the blaze under control.

It is estimated that about two dozen fire trucks were on scene and about 80 firefighters battled the blaze.

From CP24

Lightning wasn’t the only thing lighting up the skies over Toronto Thursday night. The glow of two fireballs kept crews in two different areas of the G.T.A. hopping for hours. The worst of the pair happened when a huge explosion rocked the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment plant on Leslie St.

Residents’ homes shook on their foundations around 11:45pm, after the blast started a fire that would eventually grow into a five-alarm inferno. At least 100 firefighters battled the flames and the thick, smelly black smoke that wafted over the city. Tests indicate there’s no environmental danger.

Crews were on the scene all night battling hotspots, and may be there until sometime Saturday. The extensive destruction is making it hard for the Fire Marshal to determine what started it. Some believe lightning struck the facility, while others are convinced overheated motors are to blame.

The plant converts sewage into highly combustible fertilizer pellets, but the blaze didn’t affect the rest of the building – meaning the overall system is safe. “There was no problem with the normal running of the plant,” assures Wastewater Service G.M. Mike Price. “There was no sewage spill and … there was no discharge of any toxic substance into the air.” Damage is pegged at over a million dollars, but there were no injuries.

From The Toronto Sun

The Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant building in the southeast corner of the utility yard near Lake Shore Blvd. and Leslie St. was struck in the roof by a bolt of lightning, igniting a three-alarm fire on the second floor.

Patrick Grando was riding his bike with a friend around the treatment plant, watching the lightning when they saw the building's roof get hit by a jolt from the sky.

"The lightning hit and then there was a huge cloud of white smoke," Grando said. "I got scared after that of a chemical spillage."

Fire crews initially could only stand and watch, though, because the electrical storm wouldn't let them put up their aerial ladders to fight the flames.

Another eight fires across the city were also caused by lightning.


As of this moment, 2237hrs, Toronto Fire Services is still on the scene, 23 1/2 hours after the initial alarm.

http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/fire/cadinfo/livecad.htm