Niagara Gazette

January 31, 2014

Victoria Avenue fire remains under investigation

By Tony Ricciuto
Niagara Falls, Ont., Review

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Investigators from the Niagara Regional Police and the Niagara Falls Fire Department continued their investigation into a major fire that destroyed a building and caused more than half a million dollars in damages on Victoria Avenue.

“We are in a holding pattern right now. It’s still a police scene and we are just waiting for them to finish up with what they are doing,” said Fire Prevention Officer Frank Devereaux, who continued to gather photographic evidence shortly before noon on Thursday.

Meanwhile, two police cruisers remained at the scene, one on Victoria Ave. and the other in a parking lot behind the burned rubble.

“Once the police finish with their preliminary stuff, then we will move forward from there to see if the Office of the Fire Marshal will be contacted or not,” said Devereaux.

The Office of the Fire Marshal is called in all fatal fires, where there have been serious injuries, or when the loss has been $500,000 or more. They are also notified for explosions, fires of unusual origin, and fires involving marijuana grow operations.

Early Wednesday morning, at about 12:15 a.m. a structure at 5815 Victoria Ave. was reported to be on fire. The building was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on scene.

At one point, the roof of the building caved in and an excavator was brought in to knock down sections of the building so that firefighters could gain better access.

No injuries were reported.

A check of property records at city hall shows the building at 5815 Victoria Ave. is owned by a numbered company, with a mailing address in Welland.

By Thursday afternoon, a number of stores in the area remained closed. There was a heavy build up of ice on the road and sidewalk from the water that froze from fighting the fire. City crews were spreading salt in the area.

NRP spokesman Derek Watson said the fire is under investigation by members of the Criminal Investigation Branch’s casino unit.