Cause of fire determined at compost facility

The deputy provincial fire marshal says the fire at the compost facilty was caused by a fault in a vapourizer unit attached to the propane tank.

The deputy provincial fire marshal has determined the cause of a fire Thursday at the Brookfield Compost Facility.

Dave Rossiter said there was a fault in a vapourizer unit attached to the propane tank.

Fire and police were worried because the flames were in a fenced-off area next to an industrial-sized propane tank.

Rossiter said workers at the plant saw the flames, called 911 and evacuated the building.

"Of course the alarm bells went off when the call came in—not too often you hear of a propane tank on fire. There was a fault in the unit. It allowed gas to escape from the unit and it ignited and that's what created the fire," said Rossiter.

The head of Island Waste Management Corporation told CBC News there were tense moments during the fire.

Gerry Moore said the facility was evacuated and workers were moved beyond the property's edge. RCMP considered evacuating nearby homes.

"We're somewhat isolated there," said Moore.

"I don't like to surmise as to what might happen, but I mean certainly any time you have propane involved, or any flammable liquid, you know, things can happen."

Rossiter said the unit was installed to all propane codes and standards.

He said the New Glasgow and North River fire departments did a great job handling the situation and shutting the fuel supply off.

"If it was left unattended for a longer period of time and we had direct flame on the tank itself, we could have had a serious situation," said Rossiter.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured.