Fire investigators release Orillia fire scene

    Second phase of investigation now underway

    TORONTO, Feb. 4 /CNW/ -


    The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) released the fire scene at the
Muskoka Heights Retirement residence located at 327 Old Muskoka Road in
Orillia yesterday. This marks the beginning of the second phase in this
investigation; the examination of results found at the scene and an analysis
of all factors that may have impacted the fire.
    OFM engineers will be analyzing and testing exhibits which were seized
from the fire scene. Meanwhile, other OFM investigators will be interviewing
those involved in the fire, conducting interviews and reviewing all fire
prevention records, as they do with every fire investigation. One of the
priorities of the OFM is to prevent a fire like this from occurring again.
    This fire occurred on January 19, 2009 and claimed the lives of two
individuals. Eight more remain in hospitals throughout the area and five of
these, are in critical condition. The facility was home to 23 residents.
    Over the course of the two-week investigation, investigators were faced
with harsh temperatures and numerous safety issues. To address concerns about
structural collapse within the residence, heavy equipment was brought in to
assist investigators. As a precautionary measure to protect against toxins and
possible asbestos within the fire scene, investigators wore disposable TYVEK
suits, hand and headgear and positive pressure ventilation systems.
    Throughout the investigation, the OFM worked closely with OPP, Orillia
Detachment, the regional coroner Dirk Huyer, Orillia Fire Department and other
fire departments as far away as Collingwood. The OFM wishes to thank residents
surrounding the retirement residence for their patience, cooperation and
assistance throughout the investigation.


    "The OFM will take a comprehensive and thorough approach in all aspects
of this investigation," said Ontario Fire Marshal Pat Burke. "This will take
considerable time and resources, however, we will be working quickly to
analyze what we have learned from this fire so that timely recommendations can
be developed to improve public safety."

For further information:

For further information: Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal,
(416) 325-3138; Bev Gilbert, Office of the Fire Marshal, (416) 325-3178

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