Residents told to stay indoors due to major fire at St. Catharines, Ont. flower farm

Residents who live near a flower farm in St. Catharines, Ont. are being asked to shelter in place due to smoke from a “substantial” fire at the rural property.

No one has been injured in the blaze at Pioneer Flower Farms, 1900 Seventh St., but smoke is a concern, according to Niagara Regional Police.

Officials from the Ontario ministry of the environment are now on the scene monitoring air quality.

Emergency crews were called to the farm shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday for a report of a fire, Stephanie Sabourin, spokesperson for the Niagara police, told CBC Toronto on Saturday.

“We do have a large area surrounding the active fire that we have residents who are asked to shelter in place,” she said.

“We are asking residents to stay inside, close their windows, close their doors, turn off their air conditioning and just stay put and to wait for further instruction,” she said.

Several structures, including greenhouses, were on fire overnight. (David Ritchie)

The wind shifted early Saturday and Sabourin said the shelter-in-place order was adjusted accordingly. It applies to a large area south of Queen Elizabeth Way, near 7th Street Louth, she said.

It is not known how many residents are being asked to stay inside, she added.

“There is some concern with the smoke. It’s a pretty dynamic situation. We do have resources on the scene examining and monitoring the scene.”

Several structures, including greenhouses, were on fire overnight. Thick black smoke billowed from buildings as fire crews on ladders tried to douse the flames. 

Firefighters have been trying to bring the fire under control for hours.

Firefighters from St. Catharines, Thorold, Pelham, Lincoln and Niagara-on-the-Lake are involved in efforts to bring the blaze under control.

“There are a lot of resources on scene. It is a substantial fire,” she said.

Neighbours set up pipeline to bring water to fire

Many people from the area, including neighbours, came to the farm to help. At one point, they set up an irrigation pipeline to bring water to one part of the fire.

Cause of the fire has not been determined, Sabourin said.

Roads are closed in the area, which is not densely populated. People are being asked to stay away from the area.

Pioneer Flower Farms, according to its website, is one of the largest “bulb forcing” farms in North America. It works with bulb stock growers in the Netherlands to produce cut flowers and potted plants.


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