Amherst firefighter battle multi-vehicle blaze

Amherst firefighters battled a multi-vehicle fire on May 21 that destroyed three 16-metre-long trailers, a half-ton pickup, a smaller trailer and damaged three other transport trailers.

The fire, in the parking lot of Gordon Food Service at 38 Industrial Park Dr., was reported at 8:06 p.m. The initial call was of a single-vehicle fire, but within the same minute it was updated to report several vehicles on fire.

Dense dark smoke, which billowed high into the sky, could be seen at least a kilometre away from the scene.

As the firefighters fought the blaze, the smoke turned greyish and orange. Flames could also be seen between the trailers.vehicle fire2B

Four fire trucks and several dozen firefighters responded to the blaze, as did members of the Amherst Police Department. Traffic was directed away from the scene.

As firefighters battled the blaze, three of the damaged trailers were hauled a short distance away from the burning units by a driver of a shunt vehicle.

The initial investigation indicated a contractor hired by Gordon Food Service to clean the trailers with a pressure washer was inside one of the trailers cleaning it when the tractor driver saw flames coming from a small trailer that contained the pressure washer. The pressure-washer trailer was being towed by the pickup.

The tractor driver immediately informed the contractor of the situation, but the flames quickly spread to the adjacent trailers. By the time the contractor got back to his own vehicle, the fire was beyond what a fire extinguisher could handle.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters doused the fire quickly and departed the scene shortly after 9 p.m.