Flames engulf former Smiths Falls, Ont. water treatment plant

Fire heavily damaged a former water treatment plant in Smiths Falls, Ont. overnight.

Viewer video from the scene shows the building on Old Mill Road fully engulfed in flames around 2:30 a.m.

Smiths Falls police closed several roads in the area as they battled the blaze. Old Mill Road remained close from Main Street West to Confederation Drive as of early Monday afternoon.

No injuries have been reported.

Smiths Falls fire chief Rick Chesebrough tells CTV News Ottawa the roof of the building had already collapsed by the the time fire crews arrived.

He says it was a very difficult fire to fight.

“It was very difficult just to access the side of the building, the rear of the building that close to the Canal, therefore, the elevated devices were brought in. It was defensive and fought with the aerial apparatus,” he said. “Given the age and construction of the building, heavy timber, it was difficult to extinguish and required a massive amount of water.”

Between 30 and 35 firefighters were called in, he said, from Smiths Falls, Perth, Montague, and Drummond/North Elmsley.

“At the time, the wind direction was in our favour, it was blowing toward the canal, so it had no effect on the neighbouring properties,” Chesebrough said.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

“We have to determine the structural integrity of the building before we send anybody in but there will be an investigation,” Chesebrough explained.

He added that the fire had no effect on the town’s water supply.

“It’s downstream from the municipal water intake,” he said.

Smiths Falls is about 80 kilometres southwest of downtown Ottawa. 

–With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Peter Szperling.

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