Hamilton

23 homes destroyed in large 4 alarm fire at development on Hamilton Mountain

Hamilton firefighters and police are warning the public of a large fire at a residential development on the Mountain.

All lanes on the Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway were reopened late Monday night

Homes in construction on fire with a big, cloud of black smoke.
Hamilton firefighters remained at the scene of a fire at a development on the Mountain on Monday afternoon. (Hamilton Fire Department/Twitter)

Twenty-three homes in the Central Park housing development were destroyed in a fire late Monday afternoon that saw almost 70 firefighters on scene as the fire reached a stage 4 alarm. 

Emergency services initially responded to a structure fire just before 4 p.m. Monday in the area of Stone Church and Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway. 

A large number of calls to emergency services upgraded the call to a second alarm while firefighters were on route, which engaged fire services from across the city.

The first fire crews on scene were met with a "well involved fire" in the Central Park housing development between Rymal Road and Highland Road where multiple units at various stages of construction were on fire. 

"Strong winds from the south were fanning the flames that were now shooting 30-40 feet in the area and moving rapidly to the north of the development site towards rows of occupied houses that were across the street," Fire Chief David R. Cunliffe said in a media release.

"Very quickly crews set up a defensive position with large volume hand lines and three aerial apparatus to try and contain the spread of the fire to the exposed homes," he said.

Though the fire was brought under control in less than an hour, fire services estimate at least $10 million in damages were caused.

Cunliffe said the radiant heat at the height of the fire saw balconies catch on fire that were on the back of exposed houses to the north and of the row of houses immediately behind them.

This is when the fire was upgraded to a stage 4 alarm and crews worked to get the balcony fires knocked down before they could extend to the homes.

In addition to the 23 units in various stages of construction that were destroyed by the fire, directly north of the site there were 12 occupied homes that sustained heat damage including melted siding and broken windows.

Fire services report that a number of vehicles and construction equipment that were parked on site or on the nearby street have also been damaged or destroyed.

No injuries have been reported and residents in the occupied homes were expected to be able to return to their homes last night. 

Hamilton firefighters and police took to social media to warn the public of the large fire on the Mountain.

Police said in a tweet at 4:41 p.m. ET that the Upper Red Hill Valley Parkway between Rymal Road and Highland Road West is closed.

"Traffic is affected. Please stay out of the area," police said.

The fire department tweeted that crews will be working at the scene for "some time."

All lanes reopened about 10:15 p.m. Monday night.

It's unclear when or how the fire started, but due to the amount of damage done by the fire, the Ontario Fire Marshall's office will assist police with an investigation into the cause.

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