Welland fire displaces family

A Welland family has been displaced from their home only two months after Habitat for Humanity handed over the keys.

On Saturday afternoon around 4 p.m. the Welland Fire Department received a call about a structure fire at Bradley Ave and Sauer Ave. When crews arrived the fire was already consuming the garage and nearby fence. The flames were also starting to eat away at the attic of the home next door - a recent Habitat for Humanity build.

Firefighters battled the fire, which was made even more dangerous by combustible fluids found on the property. Several propane tanks ruptured and exploded and live power lines tumbled to the ground. Firefighters report seeing electricity from the downed lines arcing before Welland Hydro quickly arrived to turn off the power.

Welland Fire says the owner of the garage was processing bio-diesel using a method turning old cooking oils into a diesel fuel substitute. Right now, they believe an electrical pump the owner was using to help filter product ignited the blaze. The man escaped with only minor burns and light smoke inhalation.

Crews from the Ministry of Environment, Welland Public Works, the Niagara Region, and contract companies worked through the night to clean up hazardous materials and protect the sewer system.

By the time the fire was under control, the Habitat for Humanity home had suffered extensive damage, forcing the family to leave. Habitat for Humanity says no one was injured, but  homeowners Juan and Luz and their three children are feeling the sting this morning - the three children will be leaving for school this morning without many of the necessary supplies.

A fundraising page has been set up by Habitat for Humanity.