Fire at former Hergott cider farm in Waterloo is suspicious say police
Published Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:33AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6:30PM EST
Waterloo Regional police and fire fighters are investigating a late night fire that destroyed the former Hergott cider farm on Erb Street. The property now owned by the City of Waterloo.
The flames were so, high they could be seen from kilometers away.
Officials say the fire started sometime around 12:30 Tuesday morning. The barn was engulfed by flames and fire fighters directed their efforts to saving the surrounding buildings, shuttling water to the scene with help from Kitchener and Baden fire fighters.
The cause is undetermined but the blaze is considered suspicious.
Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson Olaf Heinzel says, “When we look at the circumstances here we have a building that's pretty well unoccupied. There is no electricity going into the building. So there are certainly suspicious circumstances that we need to look at."
Circumstances such as whether the fire was deliberately set or was someone using the barn as shelter to stay warm or hide.
Last week police launched a manhunt for Michael Fortune, 20, wanted in connection with a series of violent crimes, including a hammer attack in Kitchener. Investigators wanted to make sure no one was inside the barn when it burned.
"Understandably with the amount of interest that that case has had, it was in the minds of the officers who responded last evening" says Heinzel.
What’s left is still hot and smouldering and according to fire fighters too unstable for any one to get inside. As a result investigators brought in a heavy machine to pick apart the rubble.
Waterloo Fire prevention officer, John Percy says "What I can tell you is Waterloo Regional police did respond initially. They do not have any concerns at this time and neither do we that there are any humans in the area or in the fire at its point."
No one was hurt, but the vacant barn collapsed to the ground. Investigators are now trying to determine what caused the fire.