Cause of Welland House Hotel fire in St Catharines still unknown

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Published July 15, 2021 at 4:11 pm

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The cause of the fire that gutted the Welland House Hotel on July 12 is still unknown four days later.

While the investigation continues into the cause and origin of Monday’s fire, fire crews have predominantly cleared the scene although a crew remains on hand to provide support during the cleanup.

Temporary road closures remain in place around the (formerly) five-storey building due to debris and safety concerns. Updates on the reopening of roads, as well as the reopening of the Ontario Street parking garage, will be provided on the City’s social media channels.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the work of fire crews over the last several days. They battled through some humid and rainy conditions to ensure the fire was fully extinguished and to ensure area buildings and residents remained safe,” said St Catharines Fire Chief Jeff McCormick in a release.

“We are extremely thankful for the dedication and professional excellence of our firefighters here in St. Catharines, as well as those from our partner departments that supported our efforts over the past few days.”

At its peak of the blaze, which started at 5:20 am on Monday, there were nearly 50 firefighters and 10 vehicles on scene, with fire crews from Pelham and Thorold supporting the efforts of St. Catharines firefighters as part of mutual-aid agreements.

Firefighters had spent days battling the fire, calling in heavy equipment to ensure they were able to access any of the hotspots and areas that were smouldering underneath any collapsed portions of the structure, which was vacant at the time of the fire.

The Ontario Fire Marshal’s investigative team has wrapped up its efforts on scene, but continues its investigation, with the support of St. Catharines Fire Services investigators and detectives with the Niagara Regional Police. Anyone with information about the fire, or who may have witnessed something, is asked to contact police at 905-688-4111, ext. 1008429.

(Photo courtesy of St Catharines Facebook)

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