The Ontario Fire Marshal's office says a propane-fueled torch being used for roof repairs was the cause of a preventable blaze that killed two volunteer firefighters in March.

Chris Williams, acting assistant deputy fire marshal, says "We were relying on industrial workers and education to follow safe fire practices. Early detection and quick extinguishment in combination with prevention would have been critical in changing the outcome here."

Fifty-six-year-old Ken Rea and 30-year-old Ray Walter were killed when the roof of the dollar store in downtown Listowel collapsed, trapping them inside.

According to the report workers had been repairing a leak in the roof of the building, apparently igniting a fire in the space between the roof and suspended ceiling.

In a press release the Office of the Fire Marshal said "The fire burned undetected for a substantial amount of time."

Despite the duration of the fire, only light smoke was visible on the roof line and no signs of smoke or fire were apparent inside the building.

After firefighters entered though, the collapse occurred within seconds and rescue was impossible.

Listowel resident Bob Clarke says "They were just suiting up to go in, I knew they had the masks on, the two guys were right here at the front door. It looked like an innocent fire at that moment, and I guess the roof went down too quickly for them."

Ontario Fire Marshal Ted Wieclawek said in a media release that what has been learned from the investigation will be incorporated into training programs.

"The OFM's investigation highlights that this tragic fire could have been prevented. It also illustrates the unique challenges faced by the fire service when fighting fires in various types of building construction."

North Perth Fire Chief Ed Smith says "We took all the safety precautions we could've taken at that time to try to make sure we did not endanger our firefighters…it really becomes an issue of why, how come, what went wrong, what can we do better, where can we learn from this so these types of tragedies don't happen again."

Meanwhile the community is left to try to recover, which Listowel resident Tanya Smith says is what the two men lost would have wanted.

"I don't think that the firefighters that did pass away would want people to not to be able to move forward. They were doing their job as volunteer firefighters so you just have to move forward."

Firefighters in the area remain emotional about the loss.