Speedway International Fire Ruled Accidental

By Sarah Klein

An explosion at Speedway International on Nicolas Avenue sends flames shooting through the air in St. Boniface on Monday, October 1, 2012. (JAYMOHZ / INSTAGRAM)

The $15-million industrial blaze in St. Boniface on October 1 has been deemed accidental.

The Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner released a statement on Friday saying the fire at Speedway International started as a result of spontaneous combustion of an oily substance in the filter press area of the facility.

The plant housed 170,000 litres of methanol, 400,000 litres of racing fuel and 300,000 litres of biodiesel.

The Fire Commissioner goes on to say that spontaneous combustion of materials can occur when a material with a low ignition temperature begins to self-heat.

“This self heating occurs through the decay of the material which generates heat to the point of combustion,” the statement read. “In industrial processes the storage or disposal of oily rags in piles can allow them to self heat, or the combustion process could have been accelerated due to heat created from industrial processes like equipment operation or friction. Piles of straw, coal, and even large manure piles can spontaneously combust.”

The OFC will be working with the fire safety inspection sub-committee to consider whether there should be any changes or mandated time frames for inspections of these, or similar types of industrial facilities.

The Nicolas Avenue fire was one of the largest fires the city has seen in recent memory.

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