excavator moving materials and fire fighter spraying water
June 11, 2019 Uncategorized No Comments

Laurentian Valley, ON (June 11th, 2019) – Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre is grateful for the quick action from local emergency personnel and Centre staff when responding to the landfill fire at the site on Saturday, June 8th.  There were no injuries or structural damage from the fire.  Some heavy equipment which was parked in close proximity to the fire received minor damage.   

“Due to the nature of our operations, staff receive extensive training on landfill fire detection and suppression as well as what to do when there is an emergency on-site.  The training our staff receive was obvious on Saturday.”  Explains Sue McCrae, General Manager at the Centre. “Laurentian Valley and North Algona Wilberforce Fire Departments worked tirelessly to bring the fire under control.  Our staff were able to work alongside emergency responders, operating equipment to move materials away from the active fire.   We even had local contractors who had equipment on site assisting.”

The fire started sometime between 4:30 and 5:00 on Saturday.  Saturday operations at the Centre are complete at 4:00 and the last employee left the site at 4:30. A passerby notified 9-1-1 and OVWRC staff and emergency responders were on-site shortly after 5:00. 

The fire was contained to the Bulky Waste area of the Centre.  It is a short distance away from where regular landfill material such as bagged garbage is managed.  Bulky Waste contains mattresses and furniture as well as the large items collected during the Spring Large Item Collection. It is segregated from other waste materials to be shredded and used as alternative daily cover at the landfill site. 

Fire Department members and OVWRC staff were on-site Saturday night into Sunday morning battling the fire. OVWRC staff remained on-site all-day Sunday into Monday morning to monitor for hotspots and extinguish flare-ups as needed.  Operations resumed as normal Monday morning at the Centre.

McCrae explains what the next steps are.  “Staff are working with witnesses and local fire departments to complete incident investigations. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has been notified.  Water flow from the area of the fire is captured through the Centre’s landfill leachate treatment facility which pre-treats ground water impacted by landfill operations before it flows off-site.  Staff have increased monitoring at the water sampling location points in the area of the fire and no adverse effects from the fire have been detected.”

Laurentian Valley Mayor Steve Bennett, who is Chair of the Ottawa Valley Waste Management Board attended the scene on Saturday.  “The training our local fire departments receive is evident. It was great to see them working alongside Centre staff. Everyone really pulled together to prevent the fire from moving into other areas at the site.  We are grateful for everyone’s assistance.” 

While the cause may never be determined, the fire is a good reminder of proper sorting of waste materials.  Batteries, propane tanks and electronics such as laptops and cell phones should never be discarded in garbage.  OVWRC customers are also reminded that there is no smoking while on Centre property.  The Centre thanks the community for their response and assistance during this time. 

An excavator operated by local contractor G.P. Splinter moves material as fire fighters apply water. At the height of the firefighting efforts there were 35 members from the Laurentian Valley and North Algona Wilberforce fire departments and 11 Centre staff on-site.

Charred metal from mattresses and furniture is all that remains at the site of the fire.   As much metal as possible will be recovered for recycling.
Written by Elizabeth Graham
Elizabeth Graham has been the Communications Officer at Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre since November 2001. She loves all things up-cycled and re-purposed and enjoys working and volunteering within the community.