Skip to content

Grain dryer destroyed in Collingwood fire Sunday night

Fire crews spent about six hours dousing a blaze in the drying tower at Collwest Grains in town's east end

Collingwood Fire Department had all hands on deck for a fire at Collwest Grain Ltd. last night. 

The grain-drying tower caught fire and was destroyed, but the fire didn't spread to nearby structures, according to Collingwood Fire Department Deputy Chief Stephen Emo. 

A call reporting smoke coming from the grain-elevator structure came in at about 5:25 p.m. Nov. 12, followed by several more calls reporting smoke, said Emo. Collwest Grain is located behind the Collingwood Brewery property, with an address off Sixth Line. 

Crews arrived to heavy smoke, and at times could see flames coming from the tower, which is about 50- or 60-feet tall. 

Emo said all staff and most of the volunteer contingent for Collingwood Fire responded to the call, and they called for mutual aid from Clearview Fire and Emergency Services to help with the water supply. 

Since the nearest hydrants were on Sandford Fleming Drive, firefighters had to walk hose through the bush about 500 or 600 feet to connect to a hydrant. However, Emo said crews needed more water, so Clearview brought two trucks for relay pumping water from another hydrant. 

There were about 35 firefighters on scene, along with five trucks, until the fire was doused around 11:30 p.m. 

Emo said there can be a higher risk depending on what material is in the dryer and if there is any dust, which can cause explosions. There was corn in the dryer when the fire started. The structure was also more challenging to access than a typical residential home. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and may never be known because of the extent of the damage, said Emo. He's unsure of the total cost, but the grain dryer will have to be replaced. He expects it will be a serious impact to Collwest Grain. 

The deputy chief did alert Ontario's Office of the Fire Marshal, as is the protocol for high-loss fires. 

There were people working at Collwest at the time, but there were no injuries and nobody works inside the dryer. 

Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
Read more