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Cause of Formula Powell Trucking fire likely accidental

Fire crews from the City of Fort St. John have been at a fire in 10200 Block of 116 Street. Photo by Adam Reaburn
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Officials with the Fort St. John Fire Department say that the cause of a fire that erupted at Formula Powell Trucking over the weekend has not yet been fully determined, but was likely accidental.

Firefighters were called to the trucking company’s storage yard in the 10200-block of 116 Street at approximately 2:20 a.m. Saturday.

Deputy Fire Chief and Public Safety Director Darrell Blades said that the fire was sparked inside of a storage shed on the property before spreading to several pallets containing bagged drilling mud mix.

Blades said that the shed was completely burned out, making it difficult for fire investigators to pinpoint an exact ignition source, but that the shed did not have any electrical power nor did it have any other apparent ignition source inside.

He added that at this point, the fire has not been deemed suspicious due to the relatively low value of the shed compared to other items on the property, and investigators are leaning towards labelling the fire as accidental.

Blades explained that the fire was sustained by consuming the paper and plastic wrap of the pallets, which contained bags of barium sulphate used to make drilling mud for the oil and gas industry that is not flammable.

At this point, damage to the business is estimated to be at least $10,000, while the value of the barium sulphate lost in the fire and response has not yet been determined.

A fire at Formula Powell Trucking 10 years ago caused the City to enact a new bylaw to limit the proximity that hazardous materials could be stored from residential neighbourhoods, which have expanded towards the business ever since.

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Blades said that while fire officials are continuing their investigation today, at this point it appears the business is in compliance with all applicable bylaws.

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