From the Barrie Examiner

Water tower fire sends firefighters to hospital

Local News - Friday, June 25, 2004 @ 07:00

Five Barrie firefighters were taken to hospital after a fire in one of the city’s water towers on Wednesday.

Fire crews were dispatched to the Mapleview Drive water storage structure just before 5 p.m., said Barrie fire and emergency services platoon chief Jeff Catteau. It is currently unused and being repainted at a cost of almost $532,000.

“Workers were painting the inside of the tower. A light bulb blew, which caused a vapour fire and the tarps they were using ignited,” he said on Thursday.

“The paint was water-reactive.You can’t use water to extinguish it. We had to use fire fighting foam to extinguish it.”

Catteau said fire crews in full 45-pound gear climbed 125 feet up an internal ladder inside the concrete pillar to a catwalk to put out the fire.

Four firefighters from the crew that initially responded were transported to Royal Victoria Hospital for observation of heat exhaustion.
A fifth suffered a minor knee injury.

All were released later in the evening.

Brian Stuhlemmer of the ministry of environment in Barrie confirmed the storage tower was emptied and isolated from the distribution system during the maintenance.

Ministry staff were on scene to determine if there was any potential risk to human health from contaminated drinking water.

“We understand that the coating being used by the contracting company (was) essentially non-flammable. There was a small volume of flammable materials used inside the structure at the time of the fire.

“It is believed that there is no risk posed to drinking water consumers,” said Stuhlemmer yesterday, adding the ministry’s investigation is continuing.

No charges are anticipated at this time, he added.

Rick Newlove of the city’s engineering department said the fire will probably set back the project’s scheduled completion date of July 31 by only a few days.