Windsor fire reviewing industrial inspection policies

Windsor Fire and Rescue is reviewing policies surrounding the inspections of industrial facilities.

The revelation came a day after a massive industrial fire broke out Tuesday at Sprucewood Industries in west Windsor.

Windsor Fire and Rescue's chief fire prevention officer Lee Tome said no bylaw dictating how often industrial properties and factories need to be inspected currently exists. However, he said fire officials are in the process of reviewing that policy.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Fire Marshal is investigating the Sprucewood fire that started at 3 p.m. in a building at the plastic recycling plant.

Tome said the facility was last inspected five years ago.

"The last time we conducted an inspection of the property was late 2008. Those violations were corrected in 2009," he told Tony Doucette on CBC Windsor's Early Shift. "Unfortunately, we haven't been back to the property since."

The news of violations is contrary to what was reported by officials at a news conference Tuesday night, when it was said the facility had no violations and was last inspected three years ago.

Tome did not say what the violations were in 2008. He told CBC Windsor's Allison Johnson to file a Freedom of Information request in order to obtain the information. CBC News intends to do so.

All but one truck responded to the scene Tuesday.

"Most of our resources were tied up at that scene. As the crews left the station, they could already see the plume of black smoke," Tome said. "The fire spread too quickly and spread to the plastic outside the building."

Neighbouring Tecumseh and LaSalle both staged trucks at Windsor stations during the fire.

LaSalle fire chief Dave Sutton said the incident is a good example of how a mutual aid agreement among local fire departments goes into action.

"We had a standby crew at [Windsor] Station 5 to help cover part of the city, which we had to call away at one point for a working fire in LaSalle actually. It was a short-term incident," Sutton said.

Black smoke from Sprucewood Industries could be seen from across Windsor and Essex County. Mayor Eddie Francis declared a state of emergency for an area in a 1.5 km radius surrounding the fire.

People were advised to stay indoors, close their windows and not use air conditioning.

The state of emergency was lifted at 9:30 p.m. The fire burned until after midnight.

Dr. Allen Heimann of the Windsor Essex County Health Unit said no one needs to worry about ill effects from the fire.

"From all of the indication that we have from the scene and from the monitoring that we've done around the scene, we don't expect any significant more problems with the plume," he said.

The fire was still smoldering early Wednesday.

Some businesses remained closed early Wednesday, but were scheduled to reopen.

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