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Small fire at incinerator

Quickly put out after smoke spotted by workers; Jan. 4 incident marks third fire since October


There was a small fire at the Durham York Energy Centre on Jan. 4, marking the third such incident since October. In this case, the flames were extinguished before firefighters arrived on scene.

By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

For the third time in three months, there has been a fire at the Durham York Energy Centre – however, this time the blaze was extinguished before firefighters got to the scene.

The Oshawa Express has learned that, on Jan. 4, there was a small fire on the incinerator’s the burn floor.

“You didn’t see any flames, just smoke. A small amount of smoke,” Craig Bartlett, the region’s waste operations manager, says.

“But where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But it was a very small amount.”

Much like what happened during the first fire at the incinerator on Oct. 11, things started when workers noticed smoke coming from the burn floor.

“Loads were coming in, and the operators running the crane noticed a very small amount of smoke coming from an area, and they took some precautions

as part of their standard operating procedures and basically fired up the water cannons on the upper level of the put and applied the water to the smoke. It went out very quickly,” Bartlett says, adding that the fire department was notified.

“When the fire department arrived, the actual fire was extinguished. There was nothing that they did – they just came in, looked around and said thanks very much. The operation was not impacted, we didn’t close down or suspend any deliveries. There was no impact to the actual facility or the operation during this process.”

Unlike the October fire and the second one, which occurred Dec. 11, the Region of Durham did not notify the public. Bartlett says this decision was made because the fire was not large enough to have any effect on the incinerator’s operations.

“This was a very small incident with no impact to operations,” he says.

“As such, there was no need to notify the public.”

However, regional councillors and staff were notified of the fire. In an email sent on the afternoon of Jan. 4, they were notified of the fire, as well as noting that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change had been called in.

“MOECC advised that this event did not constitute any spill to the environment so no call to the Spills Action Centre (SAC) was required,” states the email, written by Melodee Smart, the administrative assistant for the regional works commissioner’s office.

Bartlett says that to avoid similar incidents in the future, residents need to be wary of what they put in their garbage.

“We’re really that this happened where it happened, and that it didn’t happened en route to a facility in truck that would disrupt traffic. More importantly, it didn’t happen in someone’s home,” he says.

“Residents should be checking the region’s website to see how to properly dispose of items like cigarette butts, charcoal for the barbecues, smokers and fireplaces.”