Two fires as many hours apart on Monday at the same mixed-use building had the same cause, according to Fire Chief Larry Watkinson.
A hedge caught fire just before 1 p.m. Monday in front of a building off of First Avenue and Lougheed Highway. It sent smoke billowing out over downtown, but the flames were snuffed out by two men with fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived on scene.
Less than two hours later, firefighters returned to the scene to quell another fire that had taken hold in a wall of the structure. Smoke emanated from the building’s roof, but the blaze was doused before it could spread to the rest of the structure.
Watkinson said both fires were caused by a building caretaker who was burning away weeds with a propane-fueled torch, sometimes called a “tiger torch.”
Watkinson said the instances demonstrated that such tools pose a risk of sparking accidental fires.
“It’s not a good idea to use a tiger torch on your building at all,” he said.